Archive for December 10th, 2012

The Public Library project and 20%: A reminder

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Personally, I believe that Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) can be valuable to many public libraries in making their case for sustained or improved funding–and that Graphic Public Library Benefits is worth a look as a graphic supplement to the book. (Both links are to non-DRM PDF ebooks, as the cheapest versions available–and the only version for GPLB.)

Now through December 14, 2012, they’re both really cheap: the two together will cost less than $20, given Lulu’s one-shot 20% off deal (use FELICITAS in all capital letters as a coupon code: one use per customer but for any number of books).

But, you know, that first sentence above is only my opinion, and I don’t work in a public library. Nor am I a consultant to public libraries. I’d guess that the two books together would be cheaper than half an hour of consulting and might be a useful supplement to a consultant’s efforts–but what do I know?

Future iterations

In some ways, this post is really about the possible future of the project (probably in simplified and modified form–e.g., I’d probably drop Open Hours and PCs as metrics).

I’d love to keep doing it, but it’s absurd to spend that much time if nobody or almost nobody finds it useful or informative.

Here’s the deal:

  • If actual and equivalent sales for both books total at least 300 copies by the time the next IMLS dataset comes out (presumably late July 2013), I will do another iteration of one or both, barring unforeseen circumstances.
  • If actual and equivalent sales total at least 150 copies, I might do another iteration.
  • If I can’t even reach 150 copies, that will tell me that my opinion of the project’s value isn’t shared by any significant number of readers and libraries. Which could very well be the case.

What’s an “equivalent copy”? If states or groups of states or associations want custom analyses done, I’d consider half the cost of those custom analyses to be “virtual copies” (at $10 a copy). The same would go for the honorarium portion of speaking engagements related to this project, if the engagement is acceptable in other regards.

So far, there’s one such speaking engagement, involving three speeches, only one of them related to this.

We’re nowhere near either target yet. But it’s still quite a ways to July 2013.

By the way, the easiest way to buy both books at once–getting the 20% discount for both–is probably to go to my bookstore and select those and other books you might find worthwhile from the bookstore. (If you want to add the hardcover Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing, that’s not in my bookstore, but a search will show it readily enough.)


Arizona public libraries

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The fourth of 49 notes on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13), this time on the public libraries of Arizona.

With 85 libraries (and eight omitted), you’d expect a somewhat uneven expenditure distribution in any case, but it’s not all that unusual (although nearly 18% of libraries spend $21-$25.99, compared to just under 11% overall). Median benefit ratio in all spending categories is at least 4.21 (4.4 adjusted). While circulation is fairly typical, patron visits are on the high side, with 41% having at least seven per year (compared to 33% overall). Half of the best-funded libraries circulate at least 24 items per capita; half of the best-funded (not necessarily the same libraries) have at least 21 visits per capita, a very high number. (Nationally, half of the best-funded libraries have at least 13 visits per capita.) PC use is notably high, with 45% of the libraries having at least 1.7 uses per capita (compared to 30% overall).

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 4 4.7% 1
700-1,149 7 8.2% 2
1,150-1,649 1 1.2% 1
1,650-2,249 5 5.9%
2,250-2,999 3 3.5%
3,000-3,999 8 9.4% 1
4,000-5,299 2 2.4%
5,300-6,799 7 8.2%
6,800-8,699 4 4.7%
8,700-11,099 7 8.2% 1
11,100-14,099 4 4.7% 1
14,100-18,499 4 4.7%
18,500-24,999 2 2.4%
25,000-34,499 2 2.4%
34,500-53,999 10 11.8%
54,000-104,999 3 3.5% 1
105,000-4.1 mill. 12 14.1%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

While circulation per capita correlates strongly with spending per capita (0.56), the correlation is lower than for some other states. For the line graph, circulation was rounded to the nearest five per capita to make the graph more readable.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (to nearest five) occurrence by spending category