Circulation Per Capita
Circulation per capita is a standard indicator in the library industry. It relates the number of library materials lent to the number of persons the library serves. The “per capita” version of the circulation measure provides a simple indication of how much “repeat” business our libraries receives.
This measure is calculated by dividing the total annual circulation from all library facilities, including digital items, by the corresponding full-purpose population figure.
FY 2015-16 Results
The goal for this measure was established at 6.40. The Library exceeded the goal, with an actual result of 6.48, which is an improvement from last year’s result of 6.27.
Assessment of Results
Circulation at the Austin Public Library (APL) exceeded projection in FY 2015-16 as it increased by 6.3% from FY 2014-15 levels. Full-purpose population increased by 2.9% for the year from 888,204 to 913,917, slightly higher than the projected increase of 2.3%. In the larger picture, between FY 2009-10 and FY 2015-16, circulation increased 37.2% from 4,316,785 to 5,921,193, while population increased 17.5% from 777,953 to 913,917. In order to increase circulation per capita, the percentage growth in circulation of materials needs to consistently outpace the rate of population growth.
Circulation of physical materials over the past three years has maintained an almost constant level of 4.8 million items for a nearly 0% growth rate year-over-year during that time. Nearly all of the growth in circulation is due to electronic delivery of materials, and it is expected to continue to be the driver in the projected increase in circulation as more customers learn to use e-books and downloadable materials. Electronic delivery of content changes the way customers interact with the Library. Eliminating traditional delays in print production and distribution, digital materials circulation increased from 508,363 to 1,066,809 over the past three years and has increased 781% over the past five years.
APL is projecting an increase of 8.2% in circulation in FY 2016-17, while full-purpose population again is projected to increase by 2.5%, resulting in a goal of 6.84 for circulation per capita. Concurrently, the increase in demand for reserves indicates sustained popularity of hard bound materials, and pulling outdated items from circulation also serves to increase the number of relevant items that are circulated system wide. APL’s expanded Floating Collection model, which allows Austin’s communities to shape their local Library’s collection by keeping materials returned at that location, further reduces the need for transporting materials back to their location of origin, while simultaneously benefitting overall circulation growth. With better quality materials available in higher quantities, coupled with the ease of access to Library materials, circulation is expected to continue to increase at a healthy rate.
For more information contact Victoria Rieger, Library Financial Manager, at (512) 974-7446.