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Public Library Statistics


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  • 1. Public Library Statistics Collecting, reporting, and using stats in New Hampshire
  • 2. Why collect statistics?
    • Because it's the law:
      •   "All public libraries in NH must (see RSA 202-A:12 ) make an annual report to the State Library." *
      • Other states have similar laws.
    • *
  • 3. Okay, but why else?
    • Often, eligibility for library funding is linked to participation in State Library Statistics Surveys:
      • "Your library is ineligible for a grant for 2009 if: it failed to complete and return the Public Library Statistics Report for 2008. . ."*
      • Other states have similar restrictions.
    • * "Kids, Books and the Arts 2009 Grant Application," available at
  • 4. Collecting stats and filling out the report is time-consuming.
      • But it is important to be accurate.
      • "It is not only important to you, but also to someone else in another library who may someday use your library's data" (p. 91-92).*
    • * Smith, M. (1996). Collecting and using public library statistics: a how-to-do-it manual for librarians. New York: Neal-Schuman.
  • 5. What happens to stats I send to the State Library, anyway? Deering Public Library, Deering, NH NH State Library, Concord, NH IMLS (on 9 th floor), Washington, DC
  • 6. It’s a little hard to get excited about statistics. Maybe so, but think of all the things you can do with the statistics you and others collect . . . Bibliostat Collect online survey
  • 7. FUN with  library statistics!
  • 8. WOW your town's Budget Committee! When you need to convince elected officials of the benefit of continued or increased funding, nothing speaks in this "age of accountability" like numbers.
  • 9. SHOW impact of funding on library use!   Deiters, P. (2007). What a difference a new building makes. Illinois Library Association Reporter, 25 (1), 17. Retrieved February 3, 2009, from the WilsonWeb database.
  • 10. COMPARE your library with peers!   Chart created using the Compare Libraries Tool, available at
  • 11. SEE trends over time! Data for FY1992-FY2005 IMLS PUSUM: State Summary/State Characteristics Longitudinal Data File. Additional data for 2006 from NHPLAR 2006 (only for 2006 Capital Expenditures) available at and from Public Library (Public Use) Data Files available at
  • 12. PLAN programs and services! “ Time to promote TumbleBooks again!” “ Better stock up on children’s fiction!” “ Busier than ever--time to think about next year’s budget!”
  • 13. ADD your idea here!
  • 14. Public Library Statistics An internship project, spring 2009 Mary Cronin, URI GSLIS student Dr. Gale Eaton, LSC 595 course instructor Supervisor: Thomas Ladd, New Hampshire State Library, State Data Coordinator Thanks to Tom Ladd, for the opportunity to learn to appreciate statistics; Bobbi Slossar, New Hampshire State Library, for website suggestions and loan of laptop; and Susan Weaver, Harrisville Public Library, Lori Fisher, Baker Free Library, Andrea Masters, North Conway Public Library, for sharing statistics stories and forms