Watching our figures

vintage-649760_1920Of all the City of Round Rock departments you know about—Utilities, Transportation, Parks and Recreation, Police, Fire, etc.—which group springs to mind when you think of exercise and fitness?

You didn’t name “Library”, did you?

And yet–so far–this year’s Million Mile Month participation by City of Round Rock includes more entries from the library than from any other department.   As of this morning, the City overall ranks 12th in the nation for the 2015 MMM.

Some of our pedometer-wearing staffers logged premium miles darting from session to session at last week’s Texas Library Association conference at the Austin Convention Center (which hosted an impressive attendance of nearly 8,000).  Five librarians from RRPL’s youth and reference departments were presenters or panelists at TLA this year.

That’s four statistics already.  For literary types, we librarians can certainly obsess over numbers.

When we meet other library professionals, we establish focus by sharing our type of library (school, academic, special, public) and service population size.  Our customer base—over 100,000—prompts the question “How many branches?”—and “zero” is not the expected response.

Another eye-opener:  Did you know that many of the bestselling e-books that the library purchases from Big Five publishers cost $84 for a single, one-user-at-a-time copy?

Customers at the Reference Desk frequently seek numbers.   Earlier this week, requested data involved the population of Texas in 1845, including demographic breakdowns for women, slaves, Native Americans, etc.  Given that 1845 was, while not a census year, otherwise a very busy one for the brand-new state (and that views regarding who is and isn’t significant enough to count are more enlightened today), this was a tall order.

We generate plenty of questions among ourselves:  What percentage of the budget should go to e-books instead of print?  What expectations do new library cardholders bring with them from other states and different libraries?  What reading and information tastes characterize Round Rock?

No wonder we find circulation statistics so compelling.  Thank you, Rhonda and Tricia, for these examples:

Round Rock Public Library cardholders:  57,914
Books checked out by cardholders over the life of their accounts:  6,666,466
Physical items owned by the library:  220,057
Electronic items/products owned by the library:  4,243
Indic books:  206
Chinese-language books:  1163
Spanish-language books:  2057
Music CDs:  4,580

Nonfiction titles with most checkouts at Round Rock Public Library in the past 12 months:
Guinness Book of Records
Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Cracking the SAT
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Cracking the GED

Fiction titles with most checkouts at RRPL in the past 12 months:
The Husband’s Secret
Gone Girl
Sycamore Row
Target
Gray Mountain
The Goldfinch
Top Secret Twenty-One
Personal: a Jack Reacher novel
The Gods of Guilt
Unlucky 13

Title with the longest queue: All the Light We Cannot See

DVDs with most checkouts at RRPL in the past 12 months:
Saving Mr. Banks
Man of Steel
Iron Man 3

One final count:  how many of Taylor Stevens’ Vanessa Michael Munroe series books does RRPL own?

Answer:  Except for The Vessel— we’re purchasing it in e-book format–all of them (The Mask won’t be out until this summer).  Fans of Lee Child and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy should look into Stevens’ gritty, suspenseful series beginning with The Informationist.

Better still, come meet Taylor Stevens in person (and learn about her fascinating background).  The New York Times best-selling author will be in the library gallery on Wednesday, May 6, from 6-8:00 P.M.  Frank Campbell of Round Rock’s Barnes & Noble store will be facilitating book sales.