February 17, 2018

The Stars: Expenditure Category $30,000,000+


Per Capita
Library State Visits Circulation Program Attendance Public Internet Terminal Uses Score
Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma OH 13.4 33.4 0.6 3.4 1808
Seattle Public Library WA 12.1 19.8 0.3 2.9 1223
Columbus Metropolitan Library OH 9.7 19.6 0.5 2.6 1189
Cleveland Public Library OH 9.3 15.4 0.4 2.5 1067
Multnomah County Library, Portland OR 7.2 30 0.5 1.2 1052
Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library IN 7.2 20.6 0.4 2.1 970
Santa Clara County Library, Los Gatos CA 8.4 26.6 0.3 1.1 935
San Jose Public Library CA 8.1 15.2 0.3 2.3 928
Toledo-Lucas County Public Library OH 8.2 15.9 0.3 2.6 921
PL of Cincinnati & Hamilton County OH 7.2 19.2 0.4 1.8 912
San Francisco Public Library CA 7.5 11.4 0.4 1.7 804
Denver Public Library CO 6.6 15.8 0.3 1.9 800
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library NC 7.2 8.3 0.4 1.6 769
Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka MN 5 14.9 0.2 2.5 713
Ocean County Library, Toms River NJ 7 9.2 0.5 1 713
Consolidated Lib. Dist. No. 3, Independence MO 7 13.8 0.5 0.2 675


Since the 2009 data was gathered giving Charlotte Mecklenburg Library its Star status in this round, the library has weathered severe funding cuts. Its annual budget has been slashed by almost 40%, from $41.2 million to $25.4 million in FY11.

Four library branches have been closed since 2010, and operating hours were sliced roughly in half at the remaining 20 branches, resulting in a 25% drop in circulation, says CEO Vick Phillips. How those stark realities play out in the LJ Index will be seen in the next two years of data.

In the meantime, the recession, as well as the digital divide in Mecklenburg County, has caused people to descend on the library seeking help with job skills and searches and to save money on entertainment, education, and family activities. The library system also provides 40% of the county’s population with their primary access to computers, Phillips says.

“We saw people using the library in record numbers,” says David Singleton, interim director of libraries. “We saw people coming to children and teen programs in large numbers.”—Marta Murvosh

Ray Lyons & Keith Curry Lance About Ray Lyons & Keith Curry Lance

Ray Lyons (raylyons@gmail.com) is an independent consultant and statistical programmer in Cleveland. His articles on library statistics and assessment have also appeared in Public Library Quarterly, Public Libraries, and Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. He blogs on library statistics and assessment at libperformance.com.
Keith Curry Lance (keithlance@comcast.net) is an independent consultant based in suburban Denver. He also consults with the Colorado-based RSL Research Group. In both capacities, he conducts research on libraries of all types for state library agencies, state library associations, and other library-related organizations. For more information, visit http://www.KeithCurryLance.com.