HAPLR 8" is how I'm dubbing this edition of Hennen's American Public Library Ratings, as they enter their second decade. Although I have tried to avoid-doing so, others have frequently called the ratings annual. But the vagaries of federal data reporting have kept that from being the case. The ratings were first published in American Libraries in 1999. "HAPLR'8" corresponds to the current year but only by happenstance.
So what has changed in the state-by-state outlook over the past four years? New Mexico and Wyoming have increased their standings the most (from 42nd to 31st for New Mexico and from 22nd to 17th for Wyoming). Florida and Hawaii have fallen the most (from 38th to 41st for Hawaii and 30th to 35th for Florida). Ohio, Utah. Oregon, Washington, and Indian a have all maintained their relative positions in the top five. Mississippi, the District of Columbia, Alabama.Tennessee, and Georgia took the bottom live spots for this year's rankings.
The top 10 libraries in each service-population category are listed on the accompanying chart. Ranking number one in their respective slots are six Ohio libraries: Cuyahoga County Public Library (500K), Lakewood Public Library (50K), North Canton Public Library (25K), Twinsburg Public Library (10K), Columbia Public Library (5K), and Grand Valley Public Library (2.5K). The other four in the number-one slot are: Santa Clara County Library in California (250K), Naperville Public Library in Illinois (10K), Sodus Free Library in New York (1K), and Hardtner Public Library in Kansas (less than 1K).
The "Year-to-Year Changes" chart (see sidebar) compares data for this edition with data from the prior (2006) edition and from the first edition (1999). Consider some of the changes. On average, for every dollar spent on operating costs, 14 cents is spent on capital. That continues a decade-plus trend of 13 to 15 cents for capital for every dollar of operating expenditures. Total operating expenditures went up 4.2% while collection expenditures declined 0.8%. Circulation continued its multiyear climb with a 2.3% rise. Visits bested the circulation with a 3% increase. Reference answers saw a 0.7% increase, a change from the declines posted in the last several years and still 6.9% ahead of the rate for the 1999 edition.
The most noticeable decline was in the availability of magazine subscriptions per capita, a 4.2% drop. That is probably a testimony to continuing growth in library preference for online sources over their print counterparts. Overall, libraries have 1.9% fewer subscriptions than they did in the 1999 HAPLR edition.
Back in the mid-70s when. I went to graduate school, Wheeler and Goldhor's numbers represented the gold standard for library planning when they published Practical Administration of Public Libraries in 1962. It was a library school textbook for a longtime thereafter. They recommended that 20% of a public library budget should go to ward materials. More recently, the common wisdom has pointed to 15%. The latest data shows another in a series of continuing declines, to 13.2%. In the 1999 HAPLR edition it was 15.1%.
Circulation per staff hour is up 2.5% this year and 5.9% since the first edition. Visits and circulation per hour open are up again for this edition by a whopping 20.2% and 12.7% respectively from the first edition.
After adjusting for inflation since the first edition, expenditures per item circulated remain about the same at they did nearly 10 years ago. How many public or private enterprises can say that?
First published two years after the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) created its Peer Assessment Tool, the HAPLR ratings rely on six input and nine output measures, compared consistently for each population grouping. The measures are fairly traditional. I thought then, as now, that electronic resources, youth services, and building size ought to be included, but …