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gsandler writes "USA Today asks the question, " What state is No. 1 in library circulation per capita?" Here is the answer
in one of USA Today's trademark charts."
But without cookys it displays nada. So yeah, don't be a tease.I thought Minneapolis was major city in the lead, but obviously that might not apply for a whole state...-- Ender, Duke_of_URL
If you look at the (non scientific) poll below, it shows that 40% of respondants haven't checked out any materials in the past year.
Which is another way of saying that 60% of respondents *have* used their public libraries, and checked out materials, within the past year. Since the long-term average has been around 60%-66%, that's not bad.
Other than roads and municipal utilities, can you think of any other public agency that's used by more than half of the citizens every year?
And, of course, the contrast with "nobody uses libraries anymore" articles (e.g., one nearby this posting) is startling.
Thank you, Walt. (note to self: Read thoroughly. Think. Then respond.)
I know public libraries that call themselves "the best", and "#1". And what are they measuring? Circulation. The number of items checked out.
Now I understand it is difficult to quantify what we do, but circulation only is not a very good way to determine how "good" your library is. Checking books out is not the only thing a library does, or should be doing.
The fact that a library checks out more books than another library might be because the reference service sucks. Maybe people are checking more books out because they are trying to find the answers they can't get from the staff. Not the greatest example, but I think I make my point.
I knew a public library that stayed open on Friday evenings late--for the sole purpose of allowing people to come in and check out videos for the weekend. The video desk was really hopping, and the rest of the place was dead. This significantly increased total circulation, so the director would have high statistics to show the board. Meanwhile, the staff was rude and argumentive (the townspeople said this to me on countless occasions), the variety of services offered was not as plentiful as in comparable libraries, and the staff lacked basic training.
I think the reference collection at my library is lacking, but I don't think the circ collection makes up for it. Now the reference collection is good and we have done well with the money we have, but sometimes students - particularly older students- come in with research requests that we just can't meet at a public library.
These students need an academic library, but the local colleges are either too far away the closest state university is 45 minutes to an hour away and the community college (it really awards 2 or 3 BS now so they dropped the 'community' part but it is still a community collge) is not a research library by any means.
Luckily I have access to the online collections at the two schools at which I am enrolled (Florida State and University of Ulster) and I can find full text journal articles, biographies, newspaper articles, dissertations and the like that address their specific questions. Our reference collection is good but when you need anthropological information about the Maya it is nice to have alternate sources.
However, if we did not count each computer use a a circ we would easily cut our statistics in half. If we got rid of videos and computers I could have the time to conduct a good reference interview and provide the instruction the patron needs to research on their own.
Que sera sera.
Ah, but if you hadn't noted the 40%, I wouldn't have been able to note yet one more confirmation that public libraries are serving most people in most communities. I didn't read that far down in the article. (And, after all, you noted 40% non-users, quite different than the claim we sometimes see that "nobody uses public libraries any more" or "only the poor use public libraries...") It would be wonderful to have, say, 20% of adults in a city not using the public library, rather than 30-40%. And there are probably some cities that have near-universal use.
Maybe we should look at how many are considered poor... Because that claim might be true.-- Ender, Duke_of_URL
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