Friday, February 20, 2009

Midterm-Public Library Use in NYC

What did the researchers discover about circulation statistics? What main recommendations did the researchers make?

The researchers found that library circulation per capita was higher in a library branch with a smaller service area and better spatial accessibility (Page 456).

One recommendation was that disadvantaged neighborhoods can improve the circulation in their libraries by targeting residents with high school diplomas. They should focus on increasing the number of library users instead of increasing the frequency of existing library users' visits. Secondly, disadvantaged libraries should have materials and an outward appearance that reflects their neighborhood characteristics. In other words, the library should be integrated into the neighborhood and social interaction (Page 460-461).

They also recommend that libraries in disadvantaged neighborhoods should get higher budgets than are proportional to their circulation figures, not ones that are equal to them. This would bring the libraries social justice because it would help to break the cycle of under-utilization. The money could be used to attract more people to the library or to extend their hours. Moreover, libraries should account for the in-library use of their materials, since they are used more often than materials that are checked out of the library. This can better accurately assess the level of support needed for the library. In the long term, a good relationship between library use and social capital in disadvantaged neighborhoods could be established to improve and sustain the use of library branches (Page 461-462).

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