Thursday, August 5, 2010

PL 55/10: An image of productivity

Filed under: graphics, statistics — plinius @ 7:18 am

I am testing the graphics in Google Docs spreadsheets.

The graph below is a scatter diagram. It shows the relationship between operational expenses (salaries + media per capita) and the level of activity (loans + visits per capita) in larger Norwegian municipalities (more than 20 thousand inhabitants) in 2009.

Libraries with the same level of productivity lie on the same straight line from the origin. The dotted red line separates

  • libraries with productivities above the median (above)
  • libraries with productivities below the median (below)

The most productive library in this population is Trondheim – with coordinates close to (175, 14).

Tromsø – near (220, 15) – lies higher on both variables, but slightly lower when we compute the ratio between outut and input (activity and expenses). The third top scorer is Kongsberg, near (190,13).


We should recognize that productivity (in this sense) is influenced by many factors. Many are largely beyond the library’s control, for instance:

  • the geographical distribution of the population
    • widely dispersed or concentrated and easy to reach
  • the number and relative size of branch libraries
  • the size, suitability and location of the main library
    • old or new, central or peripheral
  • local patterns of education and occupation
    • the educated read more …
  • historical traditions
    • the county of Rogaland has always been a good place for reading, it seems …

But engagement, competence and leadership will also make a difference, of course.



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