Public Library Circ Down 1% Again as Spending Continues to Rise

Article excerpt


In 1999, the Index of American Public Library Circulation was 114, a 1% decrease from the 1998 circulation index of 115 (AL, Sept. 1999, p. 69-70). The index of expenditures rose 5%, from 155 in 1998 to 162 in 1999. The index of expenditures in constant 1990 dollars rose 1%, from 126 in 1998 to 127 in 1999.

The index values are based on figures reported annually by a sample of 112 libraries representative of all United States public libraries serving populations of over 25,000. The sample was selected from the universe of all public libraries serving populations of over 25,000, and is proportionally stratified according to rates of change in circulation and expenditures from 1989 to 1992 as determined from "Public Libraries in the U.S." (National Center for Education Statistics, 1989 and 1992).

The index scores are computed by dividing each library's reported 1999 circulation and expenditure totals by its corresponding 1990 figures and multiplying by 100. The resulting scores are ranked from highest to lowest, and the median score is the reported index value. The index of spending in 1990 dollars is calculated by dividing the expenditure index in each year by the Consumer Price Index (annual average for all urban consumers) converted to a 1990 base.

Adult and juvenile circulation

Ninety-eight public libraries, comprising 88% of the sample, reported adult and juvenile circulation figures for 1999. Only those 74 that reported both the 1990 and 1999 juvenile and adult circulation figures were used to calculate the adult and juvenile indexes. …


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