oa South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science - Book circulation in Saldanha Bay Municipality libraries, South Africa, during the 2008/2009 economic recession

Volume 79, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-8861



There is an axiom that public library usage increases during times of economic recessions. This claim relies on anecdotal evidence, but the literature is lacking in statistical support. This paper attempts to add to the statistical literature by looking at library use of the ten libraries in the Saldanha Bay Municipal (Western Cape, South Africa) area during the 2008/2009 economic recession. Using the coincident index (a composite indicator including measures of employment and inflation) as the economic indicator and circulation data as the indicator of library use, a fixed effects dummy variable panel data model was created. Creating panel datasets allows greater statistical confidence in the results. It also allows temporal differences and differences between libraries to emerge. Multiple regressions were run, but the findings do not support the hypothesis that public library usage increases during economic recessions. The axiom was tested for total circulation, adult fiction, juvenile books and adult non-fiction.

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