Monday, February 23, 2009

Week 04: Koontz, Jue, and Lance Article

Question: Circulation statistics, an easy measure to take, come back up in this article. Why are these problematic? What kinds of materials do they miss? What kinds of use and users do they miss? What can the outcome be of low circulation statistics?

Answer: Circulation statistics may be one of the easier statistics to take from a library, but they miss many of the libraries current-day functions, such as Internet use, in-library use of materials, programs hosted by the library, questions asked of the librarians, and other activities related to these. Since many low-income or rural families go to the library to use the Internet or to attend activities, their participation in the system may be overlooked if the only statistic being used is the circulation data. The outcome of having poor circulation statistics could be a severe drop in funding, which could cause the library to close. If the library has poor circulation and poor attendance, etc., this could be warranted. If the library has poor circulation but is actually utilized by the community it serves, it could lose funding when it needs it most.

I think a better way of measuring library use would be to include many kinds of statistics, a good deal of which would be easier to compile with today's technology. If the researching party looked at circulation along with factors like number of visitors, time spent on the Internet, attendance of library activities, and inquiries made to the librarian, the data would be much more comprehensive, which is what the researchers in this article discovered.

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