On-Site Usage of the Appleton Public Library Continues Its Rapid Decline in 2018 by Tom Roessler

The Appleton Public Library just released their 2018 usage statistics.  These statistics indicated a continued rapid decline in on-site usage of the library.  Over the past ten years total APL circulation has declined 39%, and was down 6.1% in 2018 alone.  The total visits to the library have fallen 25%, and was down 5.8% in 2018.  Over the same time period off-site downloadable options are increasing at a rapid rate.

Increased availability of downloadable e-books, e-audiobooks, and e-videos through the Appleton Public Library since 2009 and the technology which makes them easily accessible has resulted in a significant reduction in library circulation of printed materials, number of printed books owned, and library visits. In addition, the accessibility of the internet via smart phones, tablets, and personal computers along with the proliferation of WIFI hotspots has resulted in a decreased need for library owned internet computers and has also decreased the need to visit the library to borrow materials or conduct research.

Supporting facts:  

·       APL availability of downloadable e-books has increased 1552% from 9,889 in 2004 to 163,347 in 2018.

·       APL circulation of printed material has decreased 39% from 1,564,887 in 2009 to 954,043 in 2018.

·       APL total printed volumes owned are down 40% from 326,112 in 2009 to 245,239 in 2018.

·       APL visits are down 25% from 590,525 in 2009 to 440,696 in 2018.

·       There has been a 71% reduction of public internet computer sessions at the APL from 185,842 in 2009 to 54,510 in 2018.

References:  Wisconsin Public Library Service data 1996 – 2017 (https://dpi.wi.gov/pld/data-reports/service-data); Additional statistical information obtained from the Appleton Public library staff.

Effects of technology on Appleton Public Library usage by Tom Roessler

Did you know that the Appleton Public Library has seen a 65% decline in public internet computer usage?  Also, did you know that downloadable material has increased 1567% since 2004?  At the same time APL print circulation has decreased 35%.  Read on to find additional details.   

Increased availability of downloadable e-books, e-audiobooks, and e-videos through the Appleton Public Library since 2009 and the technology which makes them easily accessible has resulted in a significant reduction in library circulation of printed materials, number of printed books owned, and library visits. In addition, the accessibility of the internet via smart phones, tablets, and personal computers along with the proliferation of WIFI hotspots has resulted in a decreased need for library owned internet computers and has also decreased the need to visit the library to do research.

Supporting facts:  

·     APL availability of downloadable e-books has increased 1567% since 2004.  

·     APL circulation of e-books from 2013 to 2017 has increased 93% (no data available prior to 2013).  

·     APL circulation of printed material has decreased 35% since 2009.

·     Visits to the APL are down 21% since 2009.

·     APL total printed volumes owned are down 21% since 2009.

·     Appleton Public Library has seen a 65% reduction of public internet computer sessions from 194,000 to 68,000 sessions since 2004. 

References:  Wisconsin Public Library Service data 1996 – 2017 (https://dpi.wi.gov/pld/data-reports/service-data); Additional statistical information obtained from the Appleton Public library staff.

Brief history of the Appleton Public Library by Tom Roessler

Did you know that according the Appleton Public Library statistics the volumes of printed material owned by the APL has decreased 21% from 2009 to 2017?  At the same time the city is proposing an increase in library square footage of 39%.  Read on to learn more.  The current APL was built in 1981 and was 70,000 square feet.  The previous APL was 20,000 square feet.  The previous library held 157,000 volumes of printed material.  In 1981 the new APL held 167,000 volumes and it was designed to hold 300,000 volumes. It took approximately 15 years to reach 270,000 volumes which resulted in a request to expand the size of the library.  In 1995 a second floor was added to the west wing of the library bringing the APL to its current size of 86,600 square feet. From 1998 to 2009 the volumes of printed materials increased to a high of 326,000.  

In 2009 a request was made to increase the size of the library from 86,600 square feet to 140,000 square feet to meet the needs of Appleton residents for 20 additional years.  The design proposal projected the volumes of printed materials would increase 38% over that 20-year period.  However, from 2009 to 2017 the volumes of printed materials owned by the APL has decreased by 21% from 326,000 to 257,000.  This is a reduction of 13,000 volumes well below the 1998 pre-expansion level.  

Consider contacting your alderperson, preferably by phone to find out why we are planning to increase the size of the library by 39% in a time when online library usage is increasing and in-library usage is in decline. (alderperson contact information can be found under the resource tab of this website)

References:  Appleton Post Crescent article - 2/28/82; Wisconsin Public Library Service data 1996 – 2017 (https://dpi.wi.gov/pld/data-reports/service-data); Engberg Anderson 2009 APL Program Design Study available at the APL; Additional statistical information obtained from the Appleton Public library staff.

Submitted by: Appleton Concerned Taxpayers

Appleton Public Library Meeting Room Usage by Tom Roessler

Did you know that meeting rooms in the current Appleton Public library are underutilized?  Only 28% of the available time slots are being used for meetings.  Based on this, how can our city officials justify a new library plan that increases meeting room space by 895%.  Read more to get the details.

Appleton Public Library meeting room availability is a key driving force for the new Appleton Public Library project.  The APL is proposing an increase in meeting room square footage from 1,770 SF to 15,840 SF an increase of 895%.  The APL publishes the last five months of the meeting room calendar on the internet.  This calendar can be found at the following link: http://www.apl.org/meeting-rooms/booking.  An evaluation of conference room usage was conducted from September 9th, the first date where meetings are still available on the internet through January 12thof 2019.  Here is what was found:

·     Meetings are scheduled in 30-minute increments for conference rooms A, B C and D.

·     Of the 9,504 meeting slots available only 2650 (27.9%) were assigned for meetings.

·     The fewest meetings occur on Mondays where 17.9% of the time slots were booked.

·     The greatest number of meetings occur on Thursday where 46.6% of the time slots were booked.

·     All days other than Thursday have less than 33% of the time slots booked. 

Corporate meeting rooms are booked at an +80% rate.  A 28% booking rate shows a definite underutilization of the APL meeting rooms. Based on this information it doesn’t appear that we have a meeting room problem.  It does appear that there is a lack of planning or flexibility by those groups that want specific dates, days, and times. 

The driving force for a new Appleton Public Library by Tom Roessler

The driving force for a new library appears to be to accommodate a greater number of meetings and meetings of larger size.  

Supporting facts:

·     Appleton public library yearly meeting attendance has increased 103% from 22,000 to 44,742 from 1996 to 2017.

·     The proposed library will increase meeting space by 895%.

·     The current APL meeting room space is 1,770 square feet including four conference rooms.

·     The proposed APL meeting room space will be 15,840 square feet including:

o   A 6420 Square foot lecture hall with a stage.

o   A 2000 Square foot general purpose conference room.

o   Three conference rooms:  460, 785, and 785 Square feet.

o    A 3360 square foot children’s program room.

o   A warming kitchen, including two refrigerators, 2 microwaves, oven, dishwasher, and deep sinks that can be accessed by all meeting rooms.

References:  Wisconsin Public Library Service data 1996 – 2017 (https://dpi.wi.gov/pld/data-reports/service-data); Library Needs Assessment, Site Evaluation Final Report Presented August 25, 2014 (http://www.apl150.org/sites/apl150.org/files/pagefiles/APL%20Final%20Report%2008-25-14.pdf); Library building program plan 1996 – available at the APL; Engberg Anderson 2009 APL Program Design Study available at the APL.