Library Data

Collecting and analyzing data about libraries and their future .
How much of the collection is used?
This visualization is taking an optimistic look at the number of books that go unused each year.  Let’s make some radical assumptions:  The only items people checkout are books, and each book is a unique title and is only checked out once/year.  This chart shows the increasing percentage of books that would be left untouched on the shelves each year.  This figure peaks in 2010 at nearly 83%.  The conclusion here is that it is a fairly conservative estimate to claim that 83% of all books on the shelves of academic libraries will not leave the library on a given year.
Some things to consider:  The number of books collected by the Department of Educational Statics includes items that never leave the library: Government docs, references materials, bound serials.  Realistically  it is very unlikely that each book checked out is a unique title.  Taking both of these into account I’d say that 83% is probably lower than the real percent of unused books each year.
The really interesting question is how many of these books have never been checked out?  I don’t have the data for this, but I would be willing to bet as high as 70% due to the likely high number of books that are repeatedly checked out each year.
Data source: Library Statistics Program (National Center for Education Statistics)

How much of the collection is used?

This visualization is taking an optimistic look at the number of books that go unused each year.  Let’s make some radical assumptions:  The only items people checkout are books, and each book is a unique title and is only checked out once/year.  This chart shows the increasing percentage of books that would be left untouched on the shelves each year.  This figure peaks in 2010 at nearly 83%.  The conclusion here is that it is a fairly conservative estimate to claim that 83% of all books on the shelves of academic libraries will not leave the library on a given year.

Some things to consider:  The number of books collected by the Department of Educational Statics includes items that never leave the library: Government docs, references materials, bound serials.  Realistically  it is very unlikely that each book checked out is a unique title.  Taking both of these into account I’d say that 83% is probably lower than the real percent of unused books each year.

The really interesting question is how many of these books have never been checked out?  I don’t have the data for this, but I would be willing to bet as high as 70% due to the likely high number of books that are repeatedly checked out each year.

Data source: Library Statistics Program (National Center for Education Statistics)