Colorado Public Libraries Outpace National Trend on Circulation per Capita,1988-2000

Colorado residents check out books and other items from public libraries at a higher rate than Americans in general. While the national trend has increased relatively modestly, from about 5.0 to 6.5 items per resident between 1988 and 2000, circulation per capita for public libraries in Colorado has nearly doubled, from about 5.0 to 9.5 (see Table 1 in full report).

What factors influence the varying levels of public library usage from state to state? Both the level of educational attainment among the adult population and the level of spending on new library books and other materials seem likely explanations. In fact, almost two-thirds of the variation in circulation per capita (64%) is explained by collection expenditures per capita (see Table 2 in full report). Educational attainment follows a distant second, explaining only another 14 percent of the variation in circulation per capita by state.

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