Archive for December, 2012

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

Arkansas public libraries

Friday, December 7th, 2012

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


Relatively few libraries and systems (45 in the tables, 12 omitted) with two-thirds in the bottom three funding brackets (and none in the top). Just over one-quarter of the libraries circulate at least six items per capita (compared to 64% overall) and only 18% have at least five visits per year (54% overall). Similarly, just over one-quarter (27%) of the libraries have at least 0.3 program attendance per capita (compared to 54% overall). With so few libraries, it’s not too surprising that the budget table for circulation is somewhat chaotic—although, at least for the lowest six brackets, visits per capita and PC use per capita follow an orderly progression with spending.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
1,150-1,649 0.00% 2
1,650-2,249 1 2.2% 1
2,250-2,999 1 2.2% 1
5,300-6,799 1 2.2%
6,800-8,699 2 4.4% 2
11,100-14,099 0.00% 1
14,100-18,499 4 8.9%
18,500-24,999 4 8.9% 2
25,000-34,499 6 13.3% 1
34,500-53,999 5 11.1% 1
54,000-104,999 15 33.3% 1
105,000-4.1 mill. 6 13.3%


Circulation per capita correlates very strongly with spending per capita, with a Pearson’s coefficient of 0.82.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

FELICITAS and other stuff

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

First off, FELICITAS

That’s actually the new coupon code for the longest-duration sale I’ve ever seen at Lulu: 20% off one order (that is, as many books, ebooks, etc. as you want, but all purchased as one transaction) between now and December 14, 2012.

You enter the coupon code in ALL CAPS

That would bring Graphing Public Library Benefits down to $9.56 (and there’s no shipping charge for a PDF). Obviously I think that experiment is worth a look for a tenspot (and you can pass it along to others who might be interested…with my blessing.)

Or the classy hardbound edition of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) for $25.20. (OK, technically, I haven’t seen the hardbound edition, but I know from other hardbound Lulu editions that it’s classy.)

Or the paperback for $17.56. Or the PDF for, hmm, $9.56. (Buy the PDF of that book and GPLB and you’re still out less than $20.)

or Cites & Insights 12 for $40 (or all seven C&I volumes for $280–hey, I might as well dream big).

Or, for that matter, my very first Lulu book, which just reached my success target (between Lulu and CreateSpace), selling its 300th copy: Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change–for $20. (I’m wondering whether it’s worth doing a heavily revised second edition. If that happens, it won’t happen any time soon.)

It’s rare for a Lulu sale to run over the weekend. I don’t remember when there’s been a sitewide sale lasting 10 days. Remember: It’s a win-win: I get the same revenue, you get a bargain.

 Other Stuff: The Survey

If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to go take the Cites & Insights Format & Content survey. There are only five questions, and only one of them is required. It shouldn’t take you more than five minutes.

I promise that I’ll read all of the comments carefully and that I will pay attention to the results.

I suspect that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to publish a new issue during the December Doldrums, so the first issue of 2013 (Volume 13) will probably appear in very early January. Given that some key questions have to do with the format of the publication, and that I need to decide what to do about that at least three or four days before publishing the next issue, let’s set Monday, December 24, 2012 as a deadline for the survey–I’ll treat the results as an Xmas present.

Oh, and by the way, there are no points off for saying that you consistently read and find highly valuable a section of Cites & Insights that hasn’t actually appeared…

So: Please take the survey. ‘Preciate it.

A few words about the formats:

I just looked at C&I activity during 2012. Perhaps worth noting, looking only at issues in Volume 12 that actually appeared in both one-column and two-column PDF form:

  • In three cases, there were more than half as many one-column PDF downloads as there were two-column, but one of those cases is too recent to be very meaningful. In two of the three cases, the one-column figure is barely over half the two-column; in the third, which looks likely to be the least-read issue of the year, it’s about 70%.
  • At the other extreme, in what’s easily the most-read issue of the year (as usual, an issue I thought about not publishing–no prizes for Googlingguessing the issue’s theme), the ratio was roughly six to one, two column to one.
  • HTML separates were viewed more often than two-column PDFs were downloaded in six cases, but three of those are from the same issue (and that issue may be too recent for this to be meaningful). In one and only one case, an essay was viewed more than twice as often in HTML form than it was downloaded as a two-column PDF, and that’s the only case in which the single-essay views exceed the total PDF downloads.
  • In general, HTML readership seems to be higher than one-column PDF downloads and lower than two-column downloads.

And that’s the way it is.

Alabama library notes

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

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

A substantial percentage of Alabama’s 189 libraries (plus 27 omitted) are relatively poorly supported, with 57% in the bottom three brackets (compared to 28% overall)—but 11 libraries spend at least $73 per capita, the top bracket. Funding difficulties mirror relatively low usage, even though benefit ratios for every expenditure category are at least 4.5 (without cost of living adjustment; 4.2 with adjustment). Only 33% of the libraries show at least six circulation per capita (compared to 64% overall) and only 28% have at least five patron visits per year (54% overall). More than half the libraries have less than 0.2 program attendance per capita (compared to 31% overall).

The budget tables show a strong correlation between spending and circulation (except that libraries spending $21 to $25.99 have lower numbers than those spending $17 to $20.99), all the way from a median of 2.21 circ per capita for the lowest spending bracket to 19.09 for the highest.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 4 2.1%
700-1,149 15 7.9%
1,150-1,649 9 4.8% 1
1,650-2,249 14 7.4%
2,250-2,999 11 5.8% 1
3,000-3,999 11 5.8% 2
4,000-5,299 13 6.9% 2
5,300-6,799 12 6.4% 4
6,800-8,699 12 6.4% 3
8,700-11,099 14 7.4%
11,100-14,099 13 6.9%
14,100-18,499 16 8.5% 2
18,500-24,999 12 6.4% 3
25,000-34,499 8 4.3% 1
34,500-53,999 11 5.8% 3
54,000-104,999 9 4.8% 4
105,000-4.1 mill. 5 2.7% 1

Bonus graphs

For Alabama libraries, there’s a strong correlation (0.70) between circulation per capita and spending per capita.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category

Cites & Insights format & content: A new survey

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Since it seems as though Cites & Insights will go on for a while longer, I’m looking at format and content again. Specifically, I’m wondering whether it would make sense to drop the current primary format (2-column 8.5×11″ PDF, the most paper-efficient format for printing) and retain only the “online PDF” version (1-column 6×9″ PDF–which would be almost as paper-efficient if people use Readers’ “print as booklet” option).

You’ll find the survey here. (I tried to embed it, but WordPress doesn’t like that.)

Minor followup of no particular import:

A few people with long memories might wonder why the survey doesn’t say anything about financial support for C&I.

See bloody forehead? See bloody wall?

I did include that last year. Based on the results, I thought that 80% of active readers might kick in a few dollars toward keeping C&I going.

If that was the case, then there were only 2.5 active readers of Cites & Insights this year: I received a grand total of two donations (thank you both!) that added up to low two digits.

So this time around, although at least a modest donation would show that C&I is regarded as worthwhile, I’m not even asking…

Alaska public libraries

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

The first of 49 notes on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13), one note for each state (except Hawaii, which, like the District of Columbia, has only one public library system). This one’s on libraries in Alaska—or at least those libraries included in the book.

Of the 72 libraries included (18 omitted), more than half are in the top expenditures category and three-quarters are in the top three. Notably, many of these are very small libraries with good state support. Almost a quarter of the libraries fall into the top two circulation per capita brackets (compared to 14% overall)—and two-thirds have at least 7 patron visits per capita, as compared to one-third overall.

Program attendance is also very high: 42% have at least 1.1 attendance per capita (compared to 9% overall). PC use follows the trend: 43% in the top category (compared to 8% overall), 65% in the top three (compared to 32% overall). In short: well-supported, well-used libraries, at the heart of their frequently-tiny communities.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count % Outliers
<700 34 47.2% 16
700-1,149 7 9.7% 1
1,150-1,649 2 2.7% 1
1,650-2,249 3 4.2%
2,250-2,999 5 6.9%
3,000-3,999 3 4.2%
4,000-5,299 4 5.6%
5,300-6,799 2 2.8%
6,800-8,699 2 2.8%
8,700-11,099 3 4.2%
11,100-14,099 2 2.8%
18,500-24,999 1 1.4%
25,000-34,499 1 1.4%
34,500-53,999 1 1.4%
105,000-4.1 mill. 2 2.8%

Circulation compared to spending

I’m adding two graphs for these state posts—graphs that, except for California, are not in Graphing Public Library Benefits (which already has 588 graphs: adding all state graphs would mean at least another 500 or so). These two graphs cover what are probably the most indicative metric: circulation per capita. The first shows absolute values plotted as a scattergraph, with a note on correlation. The second shows rounded values with one line for each spending category—and, depending on the state, “rounded” may have different meanings. For Alaska, for example, circulation per hour is rounded to the nearest five to make the second graph meaningful. (The scatterplots generally use larger markers than in the book, since fewer libraries are involved.)

Graph 1: Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

The correlation between circulation per capita and spending per capita for the Alaska libraries included in Give Us a Dollar… is high: 0.57.

Graph 2: Circulation per capita (rounded to five) occurrence by spending category

For this graph, I’m using the same template as for other multiline graphs—even though there are no Alaska libraries (included in the study) with spending in the $12 or $17 categories.