Quantifying patron time-use of a public library

John Shepherd, Kaitlyn Vardy, Allan Wilson
  • Library Management, August 2015, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/lm-09-2014-0110

A Time-based Measure of Public Library Use

Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

What is it about?

This study, using time-diaries and exit surveys, estimated the number of hours that the patrons of the Bob Harkins branch of the Prince George Public Library used its facilities, services and circulated materials during the month of August 2013.

Why is it important?

Existing library statistics are subject to limitations. Statistics can not be easily compiled into an overall measure of library use or compared to the use of other municipal services by local governments. By estimating the patron use of public resources in hours, a global, easily understood metric of library use appears feasible. Furthermore, hours of use is potentially convertible into dollars of patron benefit via contingent valuation methodology.

Perspectives

Faculty Member John D Shepherd
Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Each year, public libraries present their budgets to local decision makers, some of who have not visited a library in years. Unlike other municipal facilities, most library use occurs offsite, a trend that is increasing with the growing use of digital collections. The offsite use of physical and digital resources by patrons is relatively unmeasured and lightly explored in the library science literature. This article proposes that that time, the number of hours that patrons spend using library facilities, services, and collections, as a measure of public library use.

Read Publication

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/lm-09-2014-0110

The following have contributed to this page: Faculty Member John D Shepherd