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Racine, Wisconsin, United States
We (my wife and I) are celebrating the 11th Anniversary of HAPLR, and more importantly, our 38th Anniversary. The HAPLR system uses data provided by 9,000 public libraries in the United States to create comparative rankings. The comparisons are in broad population categories. HAPLR provides a comparative rating system that librarians, trustees and the public can use to improve and extend library services. I am the director of Waukesha County Federated Library System.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Praising with faint damnation?

Consider this quote:
"Rating systems assign libraries to peer groups based on simplistic and imprecise indicators such as community population or library expenditures. Beyond ignoring possibly significant imprecision in these data, this creation of equivalent classes also ignores key differences on factors such as community demographics and needs, library mission, institutional context, and others. As a result, accuracy and validity of final rankings from these systems are compromised."

You might have thought that that quote came from someone opposed to both HAPLR and the LJ Index, but you would be wrong. These are the words of Ray Lyons in 2008 presentation to IFLA. HAPLR uses the "simplistic and imprecise" peer groups developed over many years by state data coordinators; population catefories. The LJ Index? The peer groups are created out of whole cloth by the authors; arbitrary spending categories.

Oh, well. Go figure.

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