City of Austin Performance Report 2014-15

Materials Expenditures per Capita

Measure Description
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. The measure can be used to compare expenditure levels over time or with other jurisdictions.
Calculation Method
This measure is calculated by dividing the total annual expenditures for all material types by the corresponding full-purpose population figure.
FY 2014-15 Results
The goal for this measure was established at $3.44 per capita. The Austin Public Library’s actual results were $3.74, $0.30 above the goal.
Assessment of Results
In the 2015 PLDS Statistical Report (based on FY 2013-14 data), average materials expenditures for cities with populations over 500,000 were $4 million; materials expenditures for the Austin Public Library (APL) in that report were $3.5 million, and materials expenditures per capita for APL ranked above the lower quartile amount of $2.84, yet still below the average of $5.44 for public libraries serving communities comparable to Austin. This indicator increased 9% from $3.44 in FY 2010-11 to $3.74 in FY 2014-15. This indicator is a function of materials expended in relation to total population, and therefore the materials budget must be increased each year in direct proportion to population growth in order for APL to keep pace with its peers. In FY 2010-11 the City recognized this need and infused $500,000 into APL’s materials budget. This improved the ranking among peer libraries in materials collection and boosted APL over the lower quartile amount for that year of $3.04. However, City-wide budget reductions in FY 2011-12 slowed the rate of growth in materials funding, and the full-purpose population increased by 1.9%, resulting in a slight reduction of materials expenditures per capita. Lengthy delays in the hiring process in FY 2012-13 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 2013-14, contractual limitations on spending resulted in a 1% decrease in materials expenditures while population grew by 3%. Towards the end of FY 2014-15, those contractual limitations were not a factor, resulting in a 5% increase in materials expenditures which outpaced the growth in population.
Father reading book to daughter, sitting in chair next to him.
Next Steps
The full-purpose population is projected to continue to outpace materials funding, resulting in downward pressure on this key measure in FY 2016-17. With the opening of the New Central Library, APL will continue to build the materials collection. Although FY 2015-16 is the final year that APL will receive annual capital funding of $1.0 million, operational funding for materials will continue into FY 2017-18. Continued investment in the materials budget for APL is critical towards efforts to gain ground on peer libraries.
Contact Information
For more information contact Sandra Cannon, Acquisitions Manager, at (512) 974-7588.