Plinius

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

PL 63/10: Library stocks

Filed under: graphics, statistics — plinius @ 2:41 pm

We started the autumn term with a big discussion about book lovers, shelf lovers, s(h)elf haters, turnover rates and weeding in Norwegian public libraries.

All in Norwegian, of course.

Behind the sound and fury – mostly great fun, of course – I suspect a deeper change. The web is starting to cut deeper. E-books are poised for attack. Traditional reference is disappearing. Instrumental learning takes the place of leisured reading. Paper books are challenged by games and other unorthodox activities.

This year the Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority (ABM-utvikling) was suddenly dismantled. They had just hired a new director for five years. He knew nothing – and was informed through a press conference.

The staff dealing with public libraries was moved to the National Library. Some of the staff dealing with academic libraries was moved to the Ministry of Education. The museum and archive people went to the Arts Council Norway.

The old order changeth, yielding place to new …

One of my colleagues called our discussion the opening round in The Great Necessary Debate. What shall we do in the future?

Since I believe in comparative statistics, I try to make my stats and graphics (right) readable beyond the borders, however.

I have used annual data on turnover and quinquennial data (5 year intervals) for stocks and loans per capita.

And by the way: in 2009 the turnover rate for books in Denmark approached four (diagram) …

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