What are we measuring?

Today a "visit" to the library does not have to mean walking into the door of the neighborhood branch.  In many public library systems the majority of visits are virtual, that is, they take place on the internet, which allows patrons to access many library materials online.  This measure tracks the number of individuals who physically visit one of the 34 branches in the library system, or visit the library’s website. Individuals are counted via door counters at the library buildings, and via web visits.

Why are we measuring it?

Library visitation is an indicator of library usage and includes all services offered by the library in one of the system’s 34 branches. It is differentiated from measuring circulation by the variety of other services offered by the library that are not reflected solely in circulation totals. For example, patrons may visit the library to read, have a meeting, use a computer etc.

How are we doing?

The number of per capita library visits, both physical and virtual, remained essentially the same between 2016 and 2017. In 2018, the Fulton County Library System ranked fifth among its national benchmark counties for which data were available; however, regionally the Fulton County Library System saw substantially more visits per resident than both the Dekalb County and Gwinnett County library systems. Visitations are expected to be down somewhat in 2018 and 2019 due to the closure of ten branches for renovation.
Average Number of Annual Physical and Web Visits per Resident
Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library and National Benchmark Counties, 2018
This chart shows the average number of physical and virtual library visits per resident in 2018 for the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library and the seven national benchmark counties that have county-wide library systems. Fulton ranks fifth in terms of overall visits and virtual visits and ranks fourth in terms of physical visits.

Source: Public Library Data Service (PLDS), 2018