Austin Public Library

Sandra Cannon, Planner Principal

The PLDS data (via PLAmetrics) is currently used to benchmark the Austin Public Library with other similar sized U.S. public libraries. With this data, we justified an increase in our overall budget to City Council. This has assisted us in requesting an increase in the materials budget, the need to increase our per capita amount, justifying the need of new hires or replacements, etc. and, promoting how well we are doing in other areas by comparing ourselves to the benchmarked libraries.

The ultimate benefit of utilizing PLAmetrics is that we have been successful in realizing our requests by utilizing the data.

We consider PLAmetrics to be the official data representation of our industry.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Linda Raymond, Materials Management Manager

We use the data gleaned from PLAmetrics most effectively to tell our story to our stakeholders, showing how we stack up against our peers. I think it helps to put things in perspective for those who are not familiar with library operations which, in turn, helps them be more open to our needs.

Mid-Continent Public Library

Steve Potter, Library Director and CEO

One way that we use PLAmetrics is to support our [fiscal 2013 budget].

The following are a few places where we referenced the PLDS data that we harvested from PLAmetrics:

  • Page 22 graph comparing MCPL expenses for personnel, material, and overhead versus peer averages.
  • Page 30 and 31 where we talk about MCPL proposed expenses for materials within categories (e.g., books, ebooks, periodicals, etc.) and compare that to our peers based on the PLDS data.
  • Page 44 and 45 where we look at several output measures and compare MCPL with the min, max and peer average.

All of this data really helps put the MCPL budget in perspective. We are a large library system. In fact, when I first started doing the budget, our library’s budget was greater than the total budget of one of the counties that we serve. This was confusing to those county officials. Placing our information in context has helped them a lot.

Additionally, it helps to better tell the story to our public, our staff, our board, and our larger community.

Frankly, this is just the start of how we will be using the normative data from PLDS. As we move to more data-driven decision-making and continue to migrate toward outcomes and impacts, putting our numbers in context with other libraries helps our community understand what the data mean.

Multnomah County Library

Shani Fox, Administrative Analyst

We use PLAmetrics to review Multnomah County Library’s data, as well as compare MCL to our peer libraries — ten libraries from around the nation that we’ve identified as leaders in public library service, and that we track in terms of a variety of measures such as circulation, turnover, materials spending per capita, programming and reference per capita, open hours and staffing levels.

PLAmetrics is a cost-effective tool for this purpose and we like the easy online access to the data sets.

Northbrook Public Library

Anna Amen, Business Manager

During discussions around a renovation project, our trustees found the PLAmetrics programming and usage statistics of libraries in the Chicagoland area very helpful.

San Antonio Public Library

David Cooksey, Performance & Innovation Manager

PLAmetrics has been a great resource for SAPL advises David.We use it for a variety of both planned and ad hoc purposes. In terms of planned, SAPL looks at the data from three primary benchmarking perspectives:

  • libraries with comparable income (revenues) per capita
  • City of San Antonio identified peers, and
  • comparable population served libraries.

It is truly helpful having the capacity to simultaneously view these different perspectives. In terms of specific use, the PLAmetrics generated reports are used...

  • to inform the Library Board of Trustees
  • as part of the library’s annual budget process with the City, and
  • for convenient access to data to assist in responding to ad hoc situations with meaningful evidence that before would likely not have been possible or if so, would have taken a lot of staff effort.

We’ve had a number of successes where PLAmetrics has been an important contributor. It sure works for us!