Sunday, 12 October 2014

Library Statistics: Part 2

Following on from my last post regarding the performance of the SA Public Library Network compared to the ALIA targets, I provide the following four graphs with a few interpretative comments. 

If you haven't read the 1st post about these figures I recommend that you do go back and look at it, as the context and reliability of these figures are important to note when looking at this information.

I am aware that some of our libraries don't use automated door counters, but do some sampling during the year to calculate their visits figures.  So this stat needs to be viewed with greater caution than some others.  I should also note that with almost 50 joint use libraries across the State these libraries would also be counting the visits of their students who are using the library for study purposes.  This is likely to have also inflated the SAPLN numbers.

This graph is a bit confusing because of the numbers being used along the horizontal axis.  The real figures are that the ALIA baseline target is for 1 staff member for 3,000 residents or part thereof. The enhanced target is for 1 staff member for 2,500 residents or part thereof.  The actual SAPLN average figure is 1 staff member for every 2,273. 

Once again this figure is a little misleading as it is not an average created by dividing the population by the total number of library staff.  It is made up by aggregating up each library's figures.  Where we have 1 staff member in a very small community of 500 people this skews the averages.  So it is best to disaggregate these figures and look at individual library performance.
As with the graph above the figures on this one are confusing, so here is the commentary on what it means:  The ALIA baseline target is 1 qualified staff member per 10,000 population, with the enhanced target being 1 per 8,333.  The SAPLN figure is 1 per 2,817.

Again, where we have up to 40 qualified teacher librarians working in a small communities then this unique SA service delivery skews the figures for libraries serving the majority of the State's population.  So local individual library figures are more relevant in this case.

It is interesting to see that this is an area where SAPLN as a whole lags behind even the baseline target.  Other statistics (see pages 15 and 16 of this document) indicates that we're 4th out of the 8 national jurisdictions - so about average for library materials expenditure.  To reach the baseline ALIA standard as a network we would need to increase our expenditure on library materials by approximately $1.2M.

It should be noted that the SAPLN model of purchasing the majority of items through P2 does generate greater universal discounts on purchases. So it could be argued that the money spent in SA is likely to translate into more items purchased than would ordinarily occur.
I should just finish off this post by acknowledging the work done by PLS staff to make this information available.  Several staff have been involved in the collection of all of our statistics over the years.  And the aggregation of these figures and production of these graphs have been the work of Jon Bentick.

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