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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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Unsettling Population Data

Ray Lyons, one of the LJ Index authors, in “Unsettling Scores” (Public Library Quarterly, Volume 26, Numbers 3_4, p. 49 – 100) notes, among other things, that HAPLR scores change when a library moves from one population category to the next. He quotes one of my articles, “Go Ahead Name Them, American Libraries, 30(1) 72-76.

“Depending on the demographic makeup of the state, there will be differences in population assignment. So a word of caution is in order. Mileage stickers on new cars carry the disclaimer “your mileage may vary” depending on the driver ant the driving conditions. Depending on the actual population in your library service area your HAPLR index rating may vary.”

He goes on to note that I repeat the caveat in 2000 and 2002 but not since. Adding that: “For the most part, the library community remains unaware of this considerable drawback to the HAPLR statistical scheme.”

How odd that when he becomes one of the LJ Index authors, he makes scant mention of this “considerable drawback” in the LJ Index scheme.

Go figure.

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