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Spatial Analysis of the Federal-State Cooperative Systemís Public Library Statistics

Bradley Wade Bishop

(Submission #22)


The Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS), a program of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), collects data from over 9,000 public library systems in the United States. This sample represents a total of around 16,000 libraries including main entities and branches. The NCES makes this data available through its website and publications. It can be argued that because the NCES disseminates the data in spreadsheet format it is not conducive for either spatial analysis or visual display. To overcome this barrier, this researcher will highlight the differences among public library systemsí statistics across the United States, creating several maps of various library statistics per capita and hope to identify trends in the data. The creation of this analysis and the display of the results involve the tasks of editing the FSCS data from its spreadsheet format to one that is interoperable with the spatial information for public libraries, i.e. coordinates of the libraryís addresses, which are available through Geo Libís U.S. Public Library Geographic Database. After the editing, the two data sets can be joined. The researcher will then isolate variables from the FSCS statistics which could be valuable information expressed as per capita. This normalization of the data, per capita, removes the disparity found between the different sized user populations of library service areas. Some example research questions follow:

1. Does square footage of public libraries correlate with circulation?

2. Are there trends across the nation or regionally for certain variables?

3. Are there some public library variables that correlate with certain demographics?

The number of states and variables analyzed will depend on the time allotted.


[Paper (DOC)]  

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