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About the Library — Statistics
Here are the statistical highlights of the Library System's just-completed fiscal year. The later pages of this report provide tables and comments on several of the more important statistical measures.
- Checkouts of library materials exceeded 2.1 million, up over 5% from FY 2006-07.
A big portion of the increase was a 56.86% rise in the use of electronic books: 44,085 checkouts. Web site renewals accounted for 451,956 - up 9.9% from last year. Checkouts at nearly every Branch were up, notably at Live Oak, where circulation increased 18.38% over FY 2006-07.
- 33% of the checkouts were of non-book materials - videos, CDs, audiotapes, magazines, and the like. This is a small increase from last year. The most heavily checked out non-book items were DVDs (33% of the non-book total).
- We collected $178,592.07 in overdue fines, which works out to 8 cents per item checked out. Overdue fine collections are slowly declining because users are now able to renew items on the internet.
- Borrowers checked out 10.51 items per capita of our State Finance Department population and 10.56 items per capita of our Library Financing Authority population. The average per capita check out rate for libraries in our State population group last year was 5.12 items. Our rate is exceeded only by Santa Clara County (22.88 items per capita) and San Mateo County (13.29 items per capita).
- On June 30, 2008 we had 60,440 active registered borrowers, meaning people who have used their cards to checkout materials within the last two years. They checked out an average of 35.74 items each. Active borrowers are 42% of our total registered borrowers.
- The number of card holders was 126,888, of whom 14% are children and 3% teenagers. Card holders can use their cards to access the Library's databases at our website, and other services. The staff is looking for a standard way to measure this use, since checkouts are only one facet of library use.
- Requests for materials were up again - from 237,865 in 2006-07, to 260,984 placed in 2007-08. Of that number we filled 86%. Roughly 43% of the unfilled requests were cancelled because we couldn't find the item or the borrower changed her/his mind. 8% of the filled requests were unclaimed by borrowers--up from 7% last year. We know the reason the number of requests keeps rising is that the Library's automation system makes it increasingly easy to ask for wanted items: users do not have to visit a branch to place a request--they can do it on-line.
- The Library staff borrowed 2,777 items via interlibrary loan for our users, and handled 2,416 loans to other libraries. Interlibrary loan requests are primarily for items that are out-of-print or are more specialized than warrant purchase by a public library system. We do track requests by subject, however, to make sure that we aren't failing to purchase materials in areas of high interest to our users.
- On June 30, 2008 we had 251,859 unique titles in all formats in the collection, and 561,332 items.
- On the technology front the Library staff made a basic (and as it turned out, a newsworthy) decision: we will use open source software to upgrade our Integrated Library System (ILS). The Library has been contracting with an ILS vendor for circulation, cataloging, public access, and acquisitions software since 1985, upgrading our system three times. Open source is less expensive (the software itself is free, although a library must contract for migration and maintenance services) but more important, it is flexible and can be adapted to specific local needs. Changes in the software can be created by the maintenance vendor; they are vetted by a committee, and libraries may actually talk to each other about what they need and how to accomplish it. System vendors base their development on what they think they can sell, not what libraries necessarily want or need. We have contracted with LibLime to set up, install, configure, and migrate our records to the Koha Open Source software system.
Santa Cruz is the first library system in California to go the "open source" route, but we see it as the wave of the future.
- Other technology changes during the year included rolling out an on-line calendar of library events and making significant progress on the redesign of the Library website. We are also now offering Aquabrowser to our users, a new way to use the library's catalog.
- The Library offers access to 82 electronic databases, most of which can be used from a home computer using a library card and a pin number. Licensing restrictions make others available only at library sites. They range from business sources to newspaper indexes and address the needs of children, teens, and adults. Some are databases we created and maintain ourselves: the Infocruz Community Information Database, or the Santa Cruz Public Library Health and Wellness Center. Look on the Library's web page under Reference Databases for a complete list and descriptions.
- Both libraries and the vendors continue to struggle with how to track actual use. Some vendors keep statistics by session (the user logs on to the database and uses it for an indefinite time; this is one session), and others by searches (one query of the database equals one search). While we get monthly usage data, the definitions of "session" and "search" are so varied that it is hard to know or show the meaning of the numbers.
The vendors for the 22 commercial databases to which we subscribe tallied 58,744 sessions during the fiscal year, and 187,735 searches. This is substantially greater than the use in FY 2006-07, but probably not any more accurate than it was then.
- Volunteers, whether Friends of the Library, court referrals, or youth completing community service requirements for school, contributed 16,120 hours of service during the Friends fiscal year (May through April) and in the Library Technical Services Division (July though June).
- The Young People's staff at all branches gave 795 programs (mostly story hours) for 21,156 preschoolers, parents and caregivers, 398 programs for 5,160 school-aged youngsters and their teachers, and 102 programs for 536 Young Adults. They also managed 717 class visits from both daycare centers and the schools, involving 10,080 youngster and teachers. A "class visit" usually involves a presentation about the library and its resources, and instruction in how to use the computers or find information for the current assignment of the class. A story is often read to younger children. Every one of these numbers is a significant increase from FY 2006-07.
- "Get a Clue @ the Library" was the theme of the 2007 Summer Reading Program, which is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Inc. 3,315 children participated in the reading part of the program with 1,314 (40%) finishing and collecting an average of 13.18 Summer Reading Dollars apiece. The Summer Reading Dollars can be used at local sponsoring stores. Forty six book reviews by kids were posted on the Library's website.
- There were a total of 196 special Summer Reading events, attended by more than 4,500 youngsters and parents. Forty-six Young Friends volunteered 256 hours of time for the Summer Reading Program.
- The Summer Reading Program traditionally includes a Festival of the Book and Kids Only Book Sale at Harvey West Park. The Friends of the Library supplied hot dogs for one and all. The Kids Only Book Sale earned $1,604, and roughly 600 children and parents attended the Festival.
- The Library's Youth Services and Outreach staff continued to expand the basic structure of services for children, developing a new focus on early literacy. We used First 5 grant funds to expand our services to home care providers and day care centers, and began allowing anyone with a library card to check out Read to Me Story Kits.
- FY 2006-07 was the second year of our First 5 Family Place grant. Parents and children come to a branch library for a story hour and program, and they meet informally with professionals who coach them or provide information about subjects of interest to parents: nutrition, reading readiness, health matters, etc. Using grant funds we sent more staff for Family Place training, and began experimenting with incorporating the program into our regularly scheduled story hours.
- The Library System also sponsored or hosted 730 programs aimed at adults, with 10,522 attendees. 190 of those were Outreach staff programs at nursing homes, senior residences, and staff (as distinct from volunteer) visits to homebound people, with 1,492 adult contacts.
- Our Adult and Reference Services division staff continued its shift from question-answering to training and programming for adults. Reference staff gave workshops on using the Internet and the Library's resources, we had an Adult Summer Reading program, and the staff does a great deal of support work for reading groups both at Branches and in people's homes. We supply book kits containing paperback copies of a title and other materials that groups can check out for six weeks.
- In a culturally rich community such as Santa Cruz County, the public library does not necessarily need to focus its resources on a large programming effort. But we have been experimenting with different ideas during the last year, and have been gratified by the enthusiasm of the response. "Munching with Mozart" at the Central Branch at lunchtime once a month has been a big hit. We co-sponsored a documentary film series with the Resource Center for Nonviolence that was well attended. Jeanne Wakasuki Houston's Farewell to Mananzar was the winter "community read." The author talk at the conclusion was so well attended we worried that the Fire Marshall would close us down.
- Library staff participated in 218 training events, with 1,245 attendees, totaling 3,958 staff hours. That's roughly twenty nine hours per staff person, and includes the orientation and training we do for new employees.
- A highpoint of the training year was a joint staff day we held with the UCSC and Cabrillo College libraries. The keynote speaker (Helene Blowers of the Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg) introduced the 23 Things learning initiative she had designed. It is an online, self-directed project to take staff though the process, at their own pace, of learning to use Web 2.0: wikis, blogging, social networking sites, etc. Out of approximately 130 employees, 98 participants completed some or most of the 23 Things exercises. And 43 participants completed the whole package. Staff evaluations of the program were overwhelmingly positive. Continuing to explore social networking tools has been added to our staff evaluation process.
- 25 staff people attended an Infopeople workshop called "Communication Skills for Front Line Staff" and another nine participated in "Reference Interview Skills for Public Library Staff." Infopeople is the state-wide library training program sponsored by the State Library.
Surely one of the most significant staff activities during FY 2007-08 was the May relocation of the Administration, Technical Services, and Outreach Program staff from 1543 Pacific Avenue to 117 Union Street. The distance is roughly two blocks but organizing and moving more than 35 people, their furniture, their computers, and the materials they were working with to the new space made it seem like miles. The City of Santa Cruz purchased the Locust/Union building and is leasing roughly two-thirds of it to the Library and the other third to the City Water Department. The lease payments cover the City's debt. The renovation created the first certified green commercial building in Santa Cruz. Indeed, not only is there more space, more efficiently organized, but it is lighter, cooler, and more comfortable than our former Pacific Avenue offices. Various adjustments in staff procedures have had to be made, but all in all, the move has been a success.
Finally, in June the voters of our County overwhelmingly approved making the quarter cent sales tax dedicated to public library service permanent. It had been set to expire in 2013. We think the strong voter support validates our hard work over the last ten years to implement the changes, made possible by the sales tax, the public wanted: more open hours, bigger collections, more services to children, effective use of technology. We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continuing to provide excellent service to the people of Santa Cruz County.
Anne M. Turner
Director of Libraries
August 6, 2008
NUMBER OF LIBRARY ITEMS CHECKED OUT BY BRANCH FY 2007-08
|BRANCH||2006-2007||2007-2008||DIFFERENCE||OPEN HRS/YR||CIRC/OPEN HR|
|LA SELVA BEACH||16,940||17,588||648||3.83%||1,612||11|
|HQ & SYSTEM||5,861||5,515||(346)||-5.90%|
We also track the residence of library borrowers. The percentages in the tables below are roughly what they have been for the past three decades: one third by City of Santa Cruz residents, and two thirds all others. However, FY 2007-08 was the first fiscal year ever that City Resident checkouts fell below 33%.
CHECKOUTS BY RESIDENCE OF BORROWER FY 2007-08
|CITY OF SANTA CRUZ RESIDENTS||698,617||32.35%|
|COUNTY OF SANTA CRUZ RESIDENTS||1,162,307||53.81%|
|CAPITOLA CITY RESIDENTS||91,636||4.24%|
|SCOTTS VALLEY CITY RESIDENTS||155,598||7.20%|
|WATSONVILLE CITY RESIDENTS||25,705||1.19%|
|ALL OTHER CIRCULATION||26,005||1.20%|
CHECKOUTS BY RESIDENCE OF BORROWER 1996/97 - 2007/08
|SANTA CRUZ CITY||COUNTY UNINCORP.||CAPITOLA||SCOTTS VALLEY||WATSONVILLE||OTHER||TOTAL|
The Library Collections
LIBRARY COLLECTIONS BY BRANCH
JUNE 30, 2008
|HQ & TECHSERVE||17,517||12,642||15,858||18,129||16,658|
|LA SELVA BEACH||14,249||13,547||12,590||11,441||11,411|
|CO. LAW LIBRARY||2,138||2,163|
The figures in the Collections table do not include copies of periodicals. The number of subscriptions at each Branch is presented below.
Although we acquired slightly more than 33,500 new items during the fiscal year, the overall collection size has declined slightly. The reason is the systematic weeding we do at every branch in order to make room for new items and to prevent worker injuries caused by over-full shelves. Where collections increased it was because we closed the Storage Collection at Central and moved items worth keeping out to the Branches where there was space.
PERIODICAL AND NEWSPAPER SUBSCRIPTIONS
JUNE 30, 2008
|LA SELVA BEACH||19||11||9||1||40|
The Library collects visitor data at each branch, using counters attached to the security devices at each entrance. The data is unreliable, but in a consistent way. That is, the counters regularly break down, and people (especially children) skew the data by playing with the light indicators. We could adjust the collected data based upon a formula derived from an accurate hand counted sample. But since our interest is really to measure trend data, this does not seem worth the trouble.
The Table below shows the total visitor count (divided in half) by hour for each Branch. The Table confirms what we know from checkout data: Central is the busiest facility (as it should be), and Aptos and Scotts Valley are roughly comparable. Use at Branciforte fell when its services were reconfigured to the Neighborhood Library level, but is still very high. Capitola remains much busier than its peer branches, Felton and Boulder Creek. Live Oak is an example of the aphorism "If you build it they will come."
VISITOR DATA BY BRANCH BY OPEN HOUR
JUNE 30, 2008
|LA SELVA BEACH||18||19||19||17||17||17||17|
REFERENCE QUERIES BY BRANCH
|LA SELVA BEACH||3,158||3,133||-0.8%|
As noted in the narrative section of this report, the focus of reference services is shifting from question answering to assisting the public in the use of electronic tools. The number of queries handled in FY 2007-08 dropped 7%.