A while back, in his 21st Century Library Blog Steve Matthews commented on some data appearing in a report entitled The Library in the City published by the PEW Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative. Dr. Matthews was puzzled by an inconsistency between statistical trends highlighted in the report and standard per capita circulation, visits, and Internet computer measures. He noted, for example, that among the libraries studied Columbus Metropolitan Library had the greatest cumulative decline in visits (-17%) over the seven year study period. Yet, in 2011 Columbus ranked 2nd in the group on visits per capita. The opposite was true for the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore. Although the library showed the second highest cumulative increase in visits (at 25%), its 2011 per capita visit rate was the lowest in the group. Curious patterns, indeed.

There are a couple of statistical dynamics at play here . . . [Read more]