Magazine article American Libraries

Public Library Circ Levels off, While Spending Tops Inflation

Magazine article American Libraries

Public Library Circ Levels off, While Spending Tops Inflation

Article excerpt

Rate of circulation slows even as salary expenses fuel a continued spending hike.

Public library circulation last year showed only a modest increase from 1991, while expenditures out-paced inflation by 4%.

The 1992 Index of American Public Library Circulation was 148, a 3% increase over the 1991 circulation index of 143. Since the inception of this annual survey, the circulation index has increased by 30%, from 104 in 1980 to 148 in 1992.

Expenditures continue to rise, from 233 in 1991 to 250 in 199%, a 7% increase. The index for expenditures in constant 1980 dollars increased by 7%, from 1991 to 1992. There was no increase in 1991.

The index values are based on figures reported by a sample of 51 libraries representative of all U.S. public libraries serving populations of over 25,000. The sample was drawn based on changes in circulation and expenditures from 1975 to 1980; the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign Library Research Center has surveyed this group annually since 1980. This year, two fewer libraries participated in the study.

The index score is computed by dividing each library's reported 1992 circulation and expenditure totals by its corresponding 1980 figures and multiplying by 100. The resulting scores are ranked from highest to lowest, and the median score is the index value. Spending in 1980 dollars is calculated by dividing the 1992 expenditures index by the U.S. Consumer Price Index annual average for all urban consumers (adjusted for 1980 = 100).

Juvenile index tumbles

The breakdown of adult and juvenile circulation was reported by only 33 of the 51 libraries participating this year. As a result, adult and juvenile circulation figures may contain a slight anomaly, since the statistical sample is smaller than in recent years.

The circulation index scores for this group of libraries are based on the median figures. The breakdown of adult circulation and juvenile circulation has remained almost constant since 1990, with a 1% increase in juvenile circulation since that time.

Though there was a substantial rise in both adult and children's indexes last year, current indexes have actually decreased, with adult circulation dropping from 128 to 124, and children's from 174 to 165. …

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