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.

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