Library Data

Collecting and analyzing data about libraries and their future .

Public library circulation

When only looking at per capita changes, we see a steady rise in circulation, but what’s interesting is that when we look at circulation per visit, it’s actually relatively flat.  The meaning of this is more people are visiting the library, but they aren’t checking out more books (nor are they checking out less).  What I find really fascinating about this is actually what it means compared to a similar set of data for academic libraries.  While it does seem that users of academic libraries are having behavior change, it’s not clear that this same change is happening to the users of public libraries (at least it’s not reflected in the circ data).  

From the perpective of “What is the future of public libraries?” this data is at the very least a statement that current library services should grow at a steady rate, and that it’s anything but certain that their future is limited.  

Data (and Chart) Source: IMLS Public Survey Fiscal Year 2009