Materials Expenditures Per Capita
Materials expenditures per capita is a standard key indicator in the library industry and is reported via the Public Library Data Service (PLDS) Statistical Report. Published annually by the Public Library Association (a division of the American Library Association), this report collects information on finances, library resources, annual use figures and technology from more than 800 public libraries across the United States and Canada. This measure can be used to compare expenditure levels over time or with other jurisdictions.
This measure is calculated by dividing the total annual expenditures for all material types by the corresponding full-purpose population figure.
FY 2015-16 Results
The goal for this measure was established at $3.43 per capita. The Austin Public Library (APL) achieved results of $3.61, exceeding the goal by $0.18.
Assessment of Results
In the 2016 PLDS Statistical Report (based on FY 2014-15 data), average materials expenditures per capita for public libraries serving communities comparable to Austin was $5.73, with Austin ranking in the lower quartile. Materials expenditures for cities with populations over 500,000 averaged $4.2 million compared to APL’s $3.3 million. This indicator is a function of materials expended in relation to total population, and therefore materials expenditures must increase each year in direct proportion to population growth in order for APL to keep pace with its peers. Expenditures per capita increased from $2.84 in FY 2009-10 to $3.61 in FY 2015-16, an increase of 27%, with population increasing 17.5% during this timeframe.
In FY 2009-10, Austin ranked at the bottom of the lower quartile of comparable communities for materials expenditures per capita. In an effort to gain ground on its peers, the City infused the materials budget by $500,000 in FY 2010-11, which boosted the Department over the lower quartile for FY 2010-11. In FY 2012-13, lengthy delays in the hiring process resulted in higher than expected savings in personnel costs, allowing funds to be used to purchase much needed materials, resulting in an increase of 13% in materials per capita. In FY 2015-16, materials expenditures decreased 0.7% from $3,320,819 to $3,297,794, and, coupled with an increase in population of 2.9%, this resulted in a 3.5% decrease in materials per capita.
FY 2015-16 was the final year that APL received annual capital funding in which to build the collection in preparation for the New Central Library, now scheduled to open in 2017. The full-purpose population is projected to continue to outpace materials funding, resulting in downward pressure on this key measure. Continued investment in the materials budget for APL is critical towards efforts to gain ground on peer libraries.
For more information contact Sandra Cannon, Acquisitions Manager, at (512) 974-7588.