The HAPLR Index and an
In 1999, Thomas Hennen, Jr. introduced a rating tool to evaluate public library services. The HAPLR Index rating system www.haplr-index.com/index.html is a scorecard for public libraries that uses selective outcome measures to rank the approximately 9,000 public libraries in the country.
The core data used to create this index is submitted annually by each state to the Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS), as part of a survey administered by the National Commission on Library and Information Science (NCLIS). This data is collected from Nebraska libraries on the Public Library Statistical Report, which is mailed each October to all public libraries. This statistical report includes questions about the library's funding, expenditures, circulation, foundation and board members, and many other items. Of these questions, certain ones are included because the questions are part of the FSCS annual survey of all libraries. A selection of these federal data elements make up the core data used by Hennen to create his index.
It is important when using any index or rating system to look closely at the methodology. While Hennen starts with core data compiled by the FSCS, he uses that data both selectively and subjectively to compile the individual library scores. Libraries are rated, scored, and ranked on six input and nine output measures. The index focuses on circulation, materials, staffing, reference, and funding levels. Scores range from zero to 1,000, with most libraries' scores falling somewhere between 260 and 800. These measures are weighted according to importance, as determined by Hennen. He provides a list of the weight given to each measure, but fails to explain why certain elements are weighted more than others.
An alternative ranking system is available from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Their Web site offers a Peer Comparison Tool http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/libraries/publicpeer/ which allows the user to customize a peer group, select variables, and create a comparative report. The site includes a tutorial and uses the latest data available from the FSCS.
Recently, this peer comparison tool was used to conduct a more controlled examination of one public library in Nebraska, Scottsbluff Public Library. It was compared with selected libraries nationwide whose service population is within one percent of that of Scottsbluff (13,711). This created a group of forty-eight peer libraries. When certain federal data elements were viewed for these forty-eight libraries, Scottsbluff ranked number one in library visits (168,792) and third in total circulation (226,810). It also came in third for circulation per capita (16.56). This comparison tool allows for a systematic examination of specific data elements, and for the creation of a group of peers based on a variety of variables.
The HAPLR Index has received mixed reviews, sometimes it depends upon how one's own library fared in the scoring process. To his credit, Hennen certainly raised the issue of rating and ranking public library service nationwide. Library staff members are encouraged to evaluate the HAPLR index, and also to look at some of the same data elements in the NCES Peer Comparison Tool. For more information contact Kit Keller, Library Data Services Coordinator, 402-471-3216, 800-307-2665, or by e-mail.
Apply Now for LSTA Grants
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant application packets are now available on the Library Commission Web site. Apply online, print a copy, or request a print copy from the Commission. A videotape of a training session on grant preparation is available on loan from the Library Commission Information/Reference Services, 402-471-4016, 800-307-2665, e-mail or the Regional Library Systems. LSTA applications sent by U.S. Mail must be received at the Library Commission no later than 5:00 P.M. CST on April 16. Online applications will be received until midnight. Faxes will not be accepted. Grant recipients will be announced by May 7. For more information contact Sally Snyder, 402-471-4003, 800-307-2665, or by e-mail. To fill out the application online or download and print a copy, go to nlc.nebraska.gov/libdev/lsta/2001-LSTA-toc.html.
Training Grants Awarded
The Nebraska Library Commission recently awarded training and continuing education grants in the amount of $46,815. The grants will assist libraries in providing continuing education and training for Nebraska library personnel. Grants were awarded to:
|Atkinson Public Library||$800|
|Battle Creek Public Library||$900|
|Karlen Memorial Library-Beemer||$550|
|Central City Public Library||$2,500|
|Columbus Public Library||$640|
|Hruska Memorial Public Library-David City||$1,200|
|Grand Island Public Library||$7,215|
|Holdrege Public Library System||$1,170|
|Pierce Public Library||$150|
|Plattsmouth Public Library||$2,500|
|Wauneta Public Library||$500|
|Levitt Library-York College||$4,845|
|Six Regional Library Systems||$15,000|
|Six Regional Library Systems||$3,750|
|Republican Valley Library System||$5,095|
For more information see the Library Commission home page, search on Continuing Education Grants.