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A medium term comparison of the variation in library book issues and
inflation adjusted expenditure is given in chart 2 From this, it is
clear that there is a good positive correlation between the two sets
of data. The degree of matching between the two sets can be determined
by calculating the correlation coefficient. This coefficient can have
a value ranging from zero to +/-1. A value of +/-1 will be obtained for
perfect matching.

Graph of Book Issues & Expenditure

For the data given in chart 2, the correlation coefficient is 0.793.
This is a very good correlation and implies that expenditure is the most
important factor in determining the magnitude of library book issues.
Other factors, such as library management procedures and external changes,
must have a significantly smaller effect.

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3.Camden Council Commitment to the Library Service

All local councils claim to be in favour of a vigorous, successful library
service. Unfortunately, some councils fail to recognize that such a
service can only obtained if the council provides active support for it.
In order to determine the level of commitment of Camden Council to the
Library Service, an investigation was carried out to determine the
proportion of the council's income that was allocated to libraries.
For the purposes of the analysis, Camden Council income has been
defined as the total income from grants and taxes as given in the Camden
Council Consolidated Revenue Account. No inflation adjustment is
necessary as the derived values are essentially ratios.

Chart 3 shows a 32 year history of the allocation of Camden Council
revenue resources to the Library Service. Up to 1971, there appears
to have been a consistent policy of allocating approximately 3%
of council income to library use. After this initial period, no
obvious consistency is discernible.

Graph of Camden's Library Expenditure

The post 1971 library allocations are characterized by the wide
swings that are usually associated with departments of organisations
which are considered to be of low priority The budgets of these
departments are frequently raided to provide funds for more highly
favoured departments. Occasionally, attempts are made to repair the
damage to the department that has occurred due to underfunding and
the inability of departmental management to carry out any long term
plans. These departments are sometimes called orphan departments, as
they lack parents i.e. supporters among the senior management of the

Of course, there may be other explanations for the facts presented in
chart 3. However, that explanation will have to take account of the
obvious change in policy which occurred in 1971 i.e. the change in policy
that occurred when political control of Camden Council changed.

Although chart 3 is dominated by wide variations in library allocations,
there is some evidence for a long term trend existing within the data.
To isolate this trend, a linear regression analysis was performed. This
type of analysis produces a best fit straight line through a data set.
With a confidence level of 95% the trend given in chart 4 is that for
the proportion of Camden Council allocated to the Library Service over
the 32 year period.

Camden Library Funding Trend

The equation for the trend is:

% of Camden Council income
allocated to library use in year X    = 43.314 - 0.0205453X

This represents a gentle but relentless decline in Camden's support for
its libraries and, inevitably, has a cumulative negative effect on the
quality of that service.

Prepared by A. Templeton 28th December 1998.

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