1368.1 - New South Wales Regional Statistics, 2007  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2007   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product



1 The public library statistics collection is managed by the State Library of NSW. The collection consists of data on public library services in NSW. The data are collected from local councils who submit information on the public libraries in their Local Government Area (LGA).

2 The collection is used by local councils, public libraries, and state libraries in Australia to report on and monitor the performance of NSW public libraries, and for benchmarking purposes in NSW and elsewhere in Australia.

3 Collecting this information assists the Library Council of NSW to fulfil their legislative requirement to make careful inquiry into all local library services. The data are derived from returns by local councils.

4 Data are collected on various topics including library expenditure and subsidy, circulation, total stock, registered borrowers (a person who is in possession of a valid, active library card), staff, acquisitions, service points and library materials.

5 In this product, information is presented on the circulation of public library materials in NSW.


6 The scope of the collection is all public libraries in NSW.

7 Public libraries may include the following facilities:

8 Central library: This is either a single site library service point or the operational centre and central service point of a multiple site library service. It is operated by permanent paid library staff. It is usually where the principal library collection is housed, where processing is centralised and where the public have direct access to a full range of library services and facilities.

9 Administration headquarters: The operational centre for a multiple site library service that operates only or mainly for administrative functions and does not provide a full range of public library services.

10 Branch library: This is a service point that is an auxiliary facility with separate quarters from the Central library. It has a permanent collection of books, a permanent paid library staff and offers a broad range of public library services and a regular schedule of public service hours.

11 Specialist service point: A facility with public access that does not offer a broad range of public library services, but focuses on one aspect of public library service, e.g. children or genealogy. It is operated by permanent paid library staff.

12 Public service outlets: Primarily covers deposit stations and are usually staffed by volunteers or have no staff.

13 Deposit station: A service point not operated by library staff, which is usually open for limited hours and is stocked with a small collection of books and other library materials that are changed periodically. Computer access to the library's database may also be provided.

14 Joint use facility/area: A facility/area that is open to the public, has a permanent paid library staff and is managed by a formal cooperative agreement between the council and another institution (usually educational, e.g. a school).

15 Mobile library: A vehicle equipped and operated by paid library staff to provide a mobile branch library service.


16 The reference period is financial years, with data collected annually. The latest release available is for 2005–06.


17 The following key data items relate to the data used in this product.

18 Circulation of materials: Circulation is a count of all materials in all formats that are loaned for use outside the library. Materials are library resources that are available for reference and loan. These include books, DVDs, CDs and tapes, magazines, videos, CD-ROMs, large print and audio books, toys, etc.


19 Local councils report for all the libraries in their Local Government Area (LGA). LGAs may have more than one library.

20 Circulation is counted at the library of issue, whether it be a central library, branch library, or a deposit station.

21 Where a Local Government Area boundary changed during the reference year, the data has been attributed to the relevant LGA of the 2006 edition of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0) boundary using the street address of the library.


22 Standard data collection forms are used to collect information from local councils on public library activity. Data collection forms are completed by local councils and submitted to the State Library for processing.

23 The State Library process the forms and undertakes consistency checks by analysing movements in the reporting patterns of councils from one year to the next. Any major movements are queried.


24 The circulation of Branch libraries and deposit stations has been attributed to the LGAs in which the libraries and deposit stations are located.

25 Care needs to be exercised in the interpretation of LGA data. This is particularly important for LGAs with a central library, which is designed to cater for the needs of residents of multiple LGAs, (these libraries are known as regional libraries) and for LGAs serviced primarily by mobile libraries, whose circulation may be under reported.

26 There are financial incentives for councils to complete their forms so as to receive State Government funding, and questions related to circulation are also used by the NSW Local Government Grants Commission to calculate payments to councils. As such, all local councils submit their surveys annually.

27 Given that all local councils responded, the collection was effectively a census, which means that the data are not subject to sampling variability. However, other inaccuracies collectively referred to as non-sampling error may affect the data. These non-sampling errors may arise from a number of sources, including:

  • errors in the reporting of data by respondents;
  • errors in the capturing or processing of data;
  • estimation for missing or misreported data; and
  • definition and classification errors.


28 The State Library has been collecting and reporting public library statistics since 1973.


29 Library statistics are published annually by the State Library of NSW in the Public Library Statistics publication.

30 The data published in this product may differ from figures published by NSW State Library due to differences in the geographic coding of areas along the state borders.


31 More information can be found at the State Library of NSW web site: www.sl.nsw.gov.au.