Thursday, 11 March 2010

Declining bookstock.

Tim Coates' Good Library Blog has posted a list of library authorities that have reduced the stock of books available for lending over the past 10 years - based on the CIPFA statistics.
He (or rather Perkins the cat) claims that nationally the stock of books available for lending has fallen by 17million.
In his list of shame no SINTO authorities are mentioned. Indeed Sheffield and Derbyshire appear in a shorter list of libraries that have increased their stock of lending books in this period.
It's probably a case of lies, damn lies and statistics. If you don't throw out any old books and add a small number of new titles then you total stock will increase but the quality of the collection has decreased. A smaller number of new titles (with duplicates of the most popular titles) would probably increase issue figures - but is that a better service or not?
It sometimes seems that our critics are better at using statistics to make a point than we are.

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