Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Presenting library statistics

I'm always interested in how library statistics can tell a story about library performance.  Marissa and I are currently building report cards for each library, looking at how they rate against the ALIA Standards and Guidelines.  We hope to release these to each library manager in the next month or so.

While looking at how others have reported library statistics I came across this really interesting blog post which uses a range of technologies to report on visits to UK libraries & how this figure compares to other activities undertaken by the community.  There is the use of infographics, Slideshare (my favourite) and Sway amongst others.  And someone has re-used the approach to display stats about Canadian libraries.  The referencing of sources for the UK data at the bottom of the blog is particularly "librarian" - and great to have so that the authenticity of the data can be verified.

This has given me an idea about both Australian and South Australian library statistics, compared to other community activities.  I'm not sure I'll get around to doing anything in the near future, but it's a mini-project I may come back to at some time. Of course if someone else wants to do the comparative research of community visits to various other events I'd be delighted to publish it here (& of course give credit to the authors and sources of their data). 

As a starting point for Australian library visits, the most recent set of data about public libraries is from 2013/14 & is available here on the NSLA website. This data shows that there were over 112M visits to Australian public libraries that year, which is over 9M per month, or more than 2.1M a week / 300,000 a day.  As Ned Potter's blog says, "So next time someone says libraries are no longer relevant, consider these statistics for a minute (and during that minute 536 people will visit a library."

Collectively, the public libraries of Australia are a powerhouse of community learning and recreation & are obviously very relevant to a significant proportion of our community.  We need to shout this out loud to all who we come across.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Membership numbers & Christmas reading.

Over the last few years I've collected up some professional reading material to take away on leave & have often shared these with you through this blog.  This year I've been so flat out I haven't even had the energy to do this.  However I was delighted to see that the ALIA PD Postings of yesterday included a link to 55 articles every librarian should read.  So I'll be ploughing my way through much of this list in coming days.

There was one article in this list which I did open, because it related to a conversation we've been having in the office about collection management & the overall age, balance and quality of our collective state-wide collections.  You'll be hearing more about this next year as a couple of projects ramp up, but I would point you to this interesting article on Collection management & the art of weeding.

Now regarding library membership, we all know that we've been de-duplicating our customer database as well as deleting some very old unused cards from the system.  This has had quite an impact on our reportable membership numbers.  But at least we know that we're reporting much more accurate numbers than we have in the past.  Our current membership percentage now sits at a a little over 40% of the State's population being active library members.

In the face of this clean up of the database it is interesting to report on the rate of NEW library members who have joined in a period of slightly less than the last 6 months.  PLS staff have run a report on the system which takes into account deletions of memberships and counts the net increase that has occurred over this period.  As the table below indicates, in just under 6 months we have added just over 33,000 new members to the system.  I think this is an amazing jump in membership.

Library members
New members added from 1/7/15 – 18/12/15
2011 Census
SA Population
% increase in 6 months
As 2015 draws to a close I continue to be amazed at what our public library network continues to achieve on behalf of the community.  I look forward to 2016 - anticipating another year where our network of libraries will continue to work together for the best possible outcomes for all our customers.