Summer reading season is in full swing, and residents of Hennepin County should have no trouble finding a book.
A Star Tribune analysis of national library data found that, among major U.S. library systems, few match the per-capita resources of Hennepin County. The analysis examined just those libraries serving more than 1 million people, based on data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Measured just by population served, Hennepin County ranks 25th in the country with 1.19 million. Leading the pack is Maricopa County Library District, which serves more than 4 million people in the greater Phoenix area.
But on a per-capita basis, Hennepin has the third-most books (4.2 million), the fourth-most branches (40, excluding downtown's Central Library), the fifth-most registered borrowers (839,727) and the seventh-most visitors (5.5 million).
Its capital and operating spending per capita ranked second and third in the country, respectively, though it also had the second-highest number of circulation transactions, a general counting of how often people are checking out and renewing materials. Operating costs were about $70 million last year.
One area where it performed comparatively poorly was total number of library programs. Hennepin scored 17th.
The county ranked first in one prominent category: the number of computer terminals per capita.
Hennepin has a whopping 1,930 computer terminals altogether, the fourth-most of any system in the country.
System spokesperson Erica Skinner said the number of computers reflects the needs of patrons.
"Library staff regularly review session counts on our public PCs and redistribute and/or add computers when numbers or staff demonstrate a need," Skinner wrote in an e-mail.
Some other library facts:
Hennepin County's central library in downtown Minneapolis is the 13th largest facility in the country, measured by square feet.
There are 137 library systems in Minnesota, many of which consist of just one location (Hennepin has 40 locations).
The most books in Minnesota after Hennepin belong to the Saint Paul Public Library system, followed by the Great River Regional Library system in central Minnesota and the Dakota County Library.