As for all tax-supported enterprises, a perennial issue for public libraries is the relative merit of smaller, lower-budget operations and larger, higher-budget ones. The former claim to be able to provide more personalized service, because they are closer to their clients. The latter claim to create “economies of scale” that enable them to provide more, cheaper services. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics indicate that the latter argument has some validity.
- Compared with lowest funded public libraries, highest funded …
- handle almost three times as many reference questions per capita,
- receive almost half again as many visits per capita, and
- generate almost a third higher circulation per capita.
- Within peer population groups, higher funded public libraries consistently “out-produce” lower funded ones.
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