Jul 182007

It’s not exactly news that academic library use is declining, but I was struck by a posting on this topic (“If Libraries Had Shareholders”) by Peter Brantley on O’Reilly Radar. Extract:

And then yesterday my friend Jerry McDonough of the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science forwarded me a talk that he gave recently at the British Library called, “We Are Not Alone: The Role of the Research Library in a Suddenly Crowded Information Universe.” …

“This slide [below] shows the median ratio of total circulation to full-time students. As you can see, it’s the exact same story, although the decrease gets going a bit earlier. We simply aren’t checking out anywhere near the number of books that we used to. Some of that can certainly be accounted for by the use of electronic materials that don’t count in ARL libraries circulation figures. But notice that this decrease is already well underway by 1995, when electronic journals did not have anything like the degree of penetration into library collections that they have today.”

Median Ratio Circulation Fulltime Students

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