NH PL Statistics

February 1, 2017
The NH Annual Public Library Survey is now open! The survey can be accessed at http://collect.btol.com. The survey will close on March 31, 2017. Libraries looking to apply for a Kids, Books, & the Arts 2017 library grant must submit their Public Library Survey by March 31st.

If you have lost your username/password or have general questions about the survey, please consider contacting our fabulous team of librarians here at NHSL: Reference Librarians Rebecca and Charles can always be reached at the reference desk (271-2144). If you notice an error with the survey, please let Bobbi *and* Ann know immediately. They will contact the vendor and try to resolve the problem.

Later this month, we will begin reaching out to libraries that have not started the survey or that appear to be stuck on specific questions. But don’t wait for us to call you! Please contact us with any questions you have. Bobbi has started a helpful hints blog post.

Note that there are some edited or new questions this year pertaining to circulation. Please read each question carefully and look for links to database and NHDB statistics online.

We truly appreciate your commitment to submit the surveys as quickly as possible. 

New Hampshire Public Library statistics are collected each year by the New Hampshire State Library. With the statistics you submit, the NHSL puts out the New Hampshire Public Library Annual Report, and makes it available online. IMLS also creates an annual report on public libraries using the statistics.

Bobbi Slossar at the New Hampshire State Library is the state coordinator for this project and may be reached at 603-271-2143 or BobbiLee.Slossar@dcr.nh.gov. Past updates and tips for NH libraries completing the PLS have been posted on the NHAIS Notes Blog and may also be distributed through the nhais-l listserv.

Bibliography: Using Public Library Statistics          
         Annotations are by Mary Cronin, Madison Library

Smith, M. (1996). Collecting and using public library statistics: a how-to-do-it manual for librarians. New York: Neal-Schuman.
A bit dated as far as using technology goes, but Smith gives clear reasons for collecting data as well as some useful worksheets for collecting data, particularly for those of us in non-automated libraries or with automation systems with limited reporting capabilities. He explains how to use statistics for resource allocation, budget presentation, cost benefit analysis. He also explains how to do the math so it is statistically correct. Smith's biggest message is that the statistics you report be as accurate as possible, because others are using your data just as you are using theirs.

Matthews, J. R. (2004). Measuring for results: the dimensions of public library effectiveness. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
A "big picture" guide to describing your library's value in the age of accountability. Input measures (funding, staffing, collection), output measures (circulation, reference, program attendance), and outcome measures (satisfaction and other user survey results) are only part of the discussion. Matthews discusses all library assessment methods, integrating them into a means of communicating library value, both economic and social. 

IMLS Compare Public Libraries
This online tool allows you to compare libraries by a variety of criteria: population, location, staffing levels, operating budget, collection size, use of services, and more. You can also choose specific libraries to compare.

NH Library Use Value Calculator
 The NHLA adapted this online calculator for use in NH. This can be used to show the value of individual library use vs. buying or renting the same services commercially. Or, you can use it to show an estimate of the value of your library's services to its community by entering your own annual statistics, then comparing the calculated value with your tax-funded operating expenses for that year.

Public Library Geographic Database
Funded by IMLS and developed at FSU's School of Information Studies, this tool mashes up library statistics, demographic info from the US Census, and interactive maps. The idea is that by including demographic data like age, income, languages spoken, and education level, library planners will be better able to determine the needs of their community.