Evaluation of the Impact of Book Displays on Circulation


To maximize shelf space usage, a small public library branch creates themed book displays with the goal of increasing circulation in its Young Adult, Juvenile and Adult Non-Fiction sections.  As Long (1986) states libraries use circulation statistics justify themselves to funding and governing agencies and that displayed books circulate at a higher rate than those in the stacks.  This paper outlines a plan for evaluating the effectiveness of this strategy.


The planned participants of the study will be library patrons that visit the branch within a designated thirty-day window.

Methods of Data Collection

The method of the data collection will be a written survey which the patrons can complete on their own or, a brief interview in which a member of the library staff asks the patrons the same series of questions and records their responses. The surveys will be placed near the self-checkout kiosks, near the display areas and, at the reference/circulation desk.

Location and Environment

The library branch is a small, approximately 5,000 square foot, single story building located in a thriving urban neighborhood.  It has a loyal customer base of neighborhood residents primarily composed of: parents with pre-school to elementary school age children, students of a nearby college, active seniors and retirees.

Survey Questions

  1. Have you borrowed a book/audiobook/CD from one of the library displays?
  2. If yes, was this within the last 30 days?
  3. What was the genre of the book/audiobook/CD? Select one of the following choices:
  • Adult non-fiction
  • Adult Fiction
  • Young Adult non-fiction
  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Children’s Fiction
  • Children’s Non-Fiction
  • Not sure
  1. What appealed to you about the selection? Select all that apply
  • the cover
  • the author
  • the title
  • the subject
  • something else – please specify
  1. How often do you visit this library branch? Select one
  • 2 or more times per week
  • once per week
  • one or two times per month
  • less than once per month


The only equipment involved in this will be a computer with the software used to create and store the survey and, tabulate the results, a printer, paper and pencils.

Works Cited

Long, S. (1986). The Effect of Face-Front Display on the Circulation of Books in a Public Library. Retrieved 16 March 2019, from http://www.ncl.ecu.edu/index.php/NCL/article/viewFile/3880/3465