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.