jonaskaite (jonaskaite) wrote in libraries,

Percentage currently checked out?

Statistics whee!

I'm putting together some statistics for our Board of Trustees - begging for money to buy shelves, basically. One of the questions I'm running up against, and unable to answer, is: how much of the collection should actually be checked out at any given time? I'm talking snapshot, not turnover.

I can find this information for academic libraries, and I'm finding some really interesting chatter about crazy-high numbers at highly specialized and experimental suburban branch libraries (hey, Lone Tree!) but I can't find a realistic, typical best practice for small (under-10,000-pop, under-50,000-volume), nonspecialized, single-site public libraries.

Does anybody have a guideline for small publics? A source to point to would be GREAT, but anecdotal data is awesome too. Thanks!
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heathergalaxy

July 17 2012, 18:41:45 UTC 2 years ago

Have you read this book? http://books.google.com/books/about/Measuring_for_results.html?id=XrjgAAAAMAAJ This is for public libraries in particular. I don't remember if there's anything of what should your stats look like, but it might give you some additional ammo for the board.

jonaskaite

July 17 2012, 19:49:31 UTC 2 years ago

I haven't, but I've already ILL'd it! Thanks! It won't help with this report, but certainly with future ones.

After I posted I found an expansion planning document from Baltimore Public talking about assuming 33% in shelving allocation... but that's way outside the service pop/collection size I'm dealing with here, obviously. *sigh*

eattheolives

July 18 2012, 03:30:38 UTC 2 years ago

This falls in the anecdotal realm, but I just did a check of my smallish single-site public library (in a town of 9,000; about 45,000 volumes) and we currently have 8.1% of our collection checked out. I have NO idea if this is good or "normal" or not, and if you find out more info I hope you'll share - I'm curious!

eattheolives

July 18 2012, 03:38:32 UTC 2 years ago

Hm ... I just realized that number is skewed by the fact that we have extensive genealogy and local history collections that cannot be checked out.