Our average daily issues over all items has been rising consistently, 20% over the last 2 years.
The average daily issue count of all rental items (fiction, magazines, DVDs) has remained essentially static, despite issues rising so significantly. Income from rental items has flatlined, virtually unchanged despite halving the rental charge of pay DVDs 18 months ago. We have long suspected there is $x of disposable income to spend at the library, and if people borrow more rental DVDs they spend less on rental fiction etc. This became very obvious once we got the stats on a graph.
Total DVDs make up around 11% of our total issues, up from 4% just 2 years ago; the daily average count of free DVDs has risen by 288% !
Actually looking at our issues in relation to what % of the budget we spent is interesting too:
- AV: 6% of our budget generating 15% of our issues.
- LP: 14% of the budget for 15% of our issues.
- Junior: 18% for 15% of our issues.
- ANF: 23% for 15% of our issues.
- Fiction: 19% of the budget generating 30% of the issues.
The DVD collection, which gets about 4% of the total budget, generates 11% of the issues which is a pretty good return on investment.
Generating Revenue through Rental Collections
The starting point for all this was that Council would like us to raise more money. Now that our issues are rising so steadily, not to mention our visitor numbers (both real and virtual), surely we should be able to generate a bigger chunk of our operating expenses ... well, no, sorry.
Those who choose or can afford to rent items rent them, and those who can't don't. And those who are coming to the library because of economic hardship are not coming to spend money. If the motivation to save money gets them to the library, it is also going to get them to bypass rental items for free ones - of which we have plenty.