The library patronage indicator measures the percentage of the total resident population served by each public library (the percentage of eligible residents that holds an unexpired library card). Ten public libraries and public library districts in Champaign County are included: the Champaign Public Library, the Homer Community Library, the Mahomet Public Library District, the Ogden Rose Public Library, the Philo Public Library District, the Rantoul Public Library, the St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library, the Sidney Community Library, the Tolono Public Library District, and the Urbana Free Library. Public libraries often serve as community hubs and offer a number of educational and social opportunities and services for their population served. Registration for and maintenance of a library card is one way a resident can engage in recreation and other community involvement.
In 2020, seven of the 10 libraries analyzed had residential participation rates between 20 and 30 percent: Mahomet Public Library District, 23.02 percent; Philo Public Library District, 21.55 percent; Rantoul Public Library, 21.79 percent; St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library, 25.15 percent; Sidney Community Library, 24.25 percent; Tolono Public Library District, 27.73 percent; and the Urbana Free Library, 28.83 percent.
The libraries with the greatest percentage of the resident population with unexpired library cards were the Homer Community Library, at 33.95 percent, and the Champaign Public Library at 33.74 percent. The library with the smallest percentage of the resident population with unexpired library cards was the Ogden Rose Public Library, at 14.57 percent.
All ten public libraries in Champaign County saw the percentage of their resident population with unexpired library cards decrease between 2015 and 2020. It is worth noting that many library buildings were closed during part of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that along with statewide stay-at-home orders may have deterred residents from renewing or obtaining library cards.
These overall trends may be slightly different than this data shows. As can be seen in the table, the total population for all six years is the same, except in the case of Mahomet: IPLAR population data is drawn from the 2010 Census, and does not account for population growth or decline since then. If total populations were larger to reflect population increases since the 2010 Census, and the number of residential cardholders are as reported in the table, percentages would be smaller. If any library districts had decreased in population since the 2010 Census and the total population numbers reflected these decreases, percentages would be larger.
Data was sourced from the Illinois Public Library Annual Report (IPLAR), an annual report from the Illinois State Library and Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.
The population data included in the IPLAR dataset is sourced from the 2010 Census (and the recent Mahomet Special Census, for Mahomet's 2018 data). To be consistent with the data source, we have also calculated the percentage of residents with library cards based on the number of cardholders divided by the total 2010 Census population. As the population in most of the areas analyzed is estimated to have risen (e.g., ACS population estimates from more recent years are greater than the 2010 Census counts), the participation percentages reflected in the table and analysis above may be slightly lower if calculated using more recent estimates. All of these numbers will be reevaluated after the 2020 Census results are released.
Source: Illinois State Library, Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.