Across LibrariesWest there are some variations in loan periods (how long before an item becomes due for return). This can depend on item type and library service, and other things. But most LibrariesWest users will know that a loan of a book is generally 3 weeks. That’s probably a sensible length of time, though if someone’s taking out Lord of the Rings it may take them longer to read it, even if they skip the appendices like everyone does.
Having standard loan periods are necessary. While it’d be great to have a librarian feel the heft of a book, eye up it’s content and say ‘I reckon that’ll take you a couple of weeks’, our systems work in fairly limited parameters and people want familiarity and stability. But it’s still interesting to look for patterns in how long different types of items are loaned for.
In LibrariesWest we have item types for each item in the catalogue. This describes what the item is, for example an Adult Fiction Book, a Spoken Word item, or a Reference item. We can report on average loan lengths (how long people keep the item for) for each item type, and see how they differ.
Doing this for the twenty most popular item types, and looking at issues over the last year, the results are shown below. Our most popular items are Adult Fiction books, which generally seem to be kept for just under 13 days. Child Fiction items are kept for longer, at 14 days. B.O.P items are Books on Prescription titles, a listing of titles to help people understand and manage their health and wellbeing using self-help reading. These tend to be held onto for slightly longer than adult fiction and non fiction items.
It’s hard to directly compare other items like Audio CDs and DVDs, as they have shorter loan periods, so people will only keep them within a week.
|Item type||Average days|
|Adult Non Fiction||13.2|
|Large Print - Adult Fiction||12.0|
|Child Non Fiction||14.0|
|Adult Spoken Word||12.6|
|YA / Teen Fiction||13.4|
|15 DVD Standard||4.3|
|12 DVD Standard||4.7|
|Reading Group Set||12.8|
|U DVD Standard||6.7|
|Child Spoken Word||13.9|
|Adult Graphic Novel||11.8|
|Large Print - Adult Non Fiction||12.0|
|PG DVD Standard||6.0|
|Drama single copy||14.1|