Graphs to Tell the Story

Graphs can help us tell our library's story.

  • TREND Graphs show this library OVER TIME - are we getting better or worse?
  • COMPARISON Graphs show US VS. SIMILAR facilities or standards (at one point in time) - are we leading or falling behind?
    • "similar" may be based on municipal population, service population, annual circulation transactions, geographic location
    • local governments often want comparisons to neighbors, even though not "similar"
    • standards may be State quantifiable standards

Create "Normalized" Statistics:

  • Permit comparisons among libraries of different sizes (including ours if we've grown!)
  • Are we paying staff too much/too little?
    • Personnel costs per FTE: shows what each full-time equivalent staff member costs in pay and benefits - so we don't have to be concerned with size of staff, how many are part-time, etc. (No matter how many hours we're open, the number of FTE's = total staff hours/40.)
  • Are we over/under staffed?
    Circulation per FTE: shows how many circulation transactions each full-time equivalent staff member handles annually
  • Are our operating expenses high compared to others? Have we gotten more or less efficient?
    • Cost per circ.: shows operating costs expended for each circulation transaction. (with or without personnel costs)
  • How does our municipal funding compare to other (different-sized) communities?
    • Municipal allocation/Equalized Assessed Value: shows funding in relation to community wealth
    • Municipal allocation per capita: shows funding per citizen.
    • Municial allocation plus State funding per circ.: compare to cost per circ to see shortfall

Determine Other Info Important to Our Audience: Funding besides municipal allocation (how are we doing at generating other revenues?), Population changes inside/outside of municipality, etc.

(Equalized Assessed Value is available from local, county or State government. All other info above is available from State's agency in charge of libraries.)

Group the statistics to make graphs with IMPACT!

TREND Graphs

  • Support Graph (PDF): municipal support per capita vs. per $1,000 in EAV (trend, last 5 years)


Other possibilities:

  • Programs (COMPARISON or TREND) Graph: number of programs and total annual program attendance. Or, normalize to: number of programs per capita and attendance per program.
  • Expenditures and Support (TREND) Graph: total operating and materials expenditures and municipal allocation (are they rising/falling together?)
  • Summarize graph results in a box below each graph, so no one misses the message!

Remember: this info can also help in planning!

  • At what point will we need more personnel? When our Circ/FTE gets too high…
  • How much will another person cost? Use Personnel Cost/FTE to estimate…
  • If circulation grows (due to expansion, population growth, etc.) how much will our expenses go up? Use Cost/Circ. (adjusting as necessary for personnel costs!)…..

Using Comparative Data

Budget Presentations Homepage