April 1999

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

The Books That We Read

April 1999 issue of Trustee

A survey was recently taken of 2000 U.S. Public Libraries by the Library Journal. Here are some of the survey highlights.

Libraries spend the most money on mysteries. Five hundred and ten of the surveyed libraries spent $1.9 million alone on mysteries. Spending for all libraries including public, academic, school and special is estimated at $2 billion each year.

Libraries serving populations of over 500,000 people spent on average nearly $1.3 million each on adult books. $168,067 was allocated to popular fiction; another $78,324 to mysteries. Other major areas are art, science, fiction, westerns, computers and history.

Libraries serving communities of 100,000 plus spent on average more than $11,000 on health/medicine, more than $8,000 each on art and travel and more than $7,000 each on science and social science. Other popular areas include personal finance especially in communities with investors or retirees, books on careers, small business, job empowerment, travel, biography, tax books, text books and self-help manuals.

Adult circulation is up 63%. Most libraries have healthy material budgets averaging $1 million and ranging up to $2.7 million. Material budgets, generally 16% of a library's total operating budgets, increased by an average of 7% last year. Some genres need constant updating. These include health/medicine, sci-tech, computer science and travel.

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