The report is about to be loaded to the Intranet (where previous year's reports already reside), and is already available on the NSLA site here. Some interesting features from an SA perspective include:
- Loans showed growth over 4 years, but dropped back in 09/10, perhaps due to several larger busy libraries being closed for extended periods for rebuilds. We'll need to keep an eye on this figure!
- SA continues to have the highest loans per capita of any state or territory (11) and the highest visits per capita (7.3)
- Funding per capita is highest in SA - over $9 above the national average, and over $6 higher than the next highest funded State.
- Expenditure on library materials is slightly above the national average.
- Expenditure on electronic resources is below the national average, and the second lowest in Australia
- The number of public Internet PCs has increased by 62% over the last 5 years, and SA is now ranked second, and well above average. (This may explain some of the congestion and Internet speed issues that PLS is currently looking for solutions to.)
- For states where there are comparable arrangements where State Governments are co-funders of libraries with Local Governments, the SA State Government's contribution is a significantly higher contribution than in other States (at 24% of total expenditure).
- While the public library collections across the state are large (4.58M) and provide high numbers of items per capita (2.86) only 32% of the collection has been bought in the last 5 years. This is the lowest replacement rate of any jurisdiction in Australia.
One measure which I expect to see significant movement on in the next couple of years is the number and percentage of people who are active library members. SA reports a figure of 53%, which is the highest in Australia, and 8% above the national average. However all libraries count this figure by adding together all registered borrowers and dividing this by the population. The advent of a shared LMS will see each library member only being counted once! So those library users with 3 cards will be counted once, not three times in the future. I can see our figures dropping substantially, but we can then report an accurate figure, with no double (or triple) counting!
Of course statistics are only one measure of how libraries perform, but they are one indicator of how things stand. These figures seem to indicate that SA public libraries continue to have high recognition and use by our customers, and are relatively well funded by both funding partners.