Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Look at Public Library Circulation Using Anonymous Examples

Materials Mix: Investigating Trends in Materials Budgets and Circulation.  (Library Journal, 2/19/2013)

The ebook effect.  In the end, will ebooks help boost public library circulation or help knock it down? The jury’s still out. Nearly one in five of this year’s respondents saw circulation decrease, and though budget cuts, closed branches, longer loan periods, and improved school library services were among the expected reasons, Mary Cronin, Madison Library, NH, made a comment echoed by many: “More patrons with reading devices are opting to purchase content rather than borrow it from the library.”

Here's a sampling of public library circulation statistics 17 months after the publication of the LJ article I've quoted here.

Circulation at Library A is down 10.1% so far this year.  It appears that Library A does not include ebook uses, or uses of other digital formats, in the total circulation.  (Ebook use equals about 3% of total library circulation.)

Circulation at Library B is down 4.3% so far this year.  The reports I used provide no breakdown by format.

Circulation at Library C is up 0.4% so far this year.   As far as I can tell, Library C does not include digital downloads in the numbers shown here.

Circulation at Library D is down 10.1% so far this year.  Digital downloads (e.g., Overdrive, Freegal) are reported separately in the monthly reports.  In April 2014, the number of ebook downloads equals 4.5% of total checkouts and renewals.

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