ACT Author | March 13, 2021

This information was sent to the mayor and every council member in November 2020.  To date, we have not received a response from anyone.

Appleton Public library Facts (Pre-Covid)

Executive Summary: 

  • Since 2009 the APL (Appleton Public Library) has seen a significant decline in library printed books owned (down 36%), total circulation (down 44%), and library visits (down 31%) which has resulted in more than adequate space to meet current and future needs.
  • There is an increasing number of library users who are using remote library options as reflected in the explosive growth of e-media.
  • Virtual meetings will become the norm in the future with or without Covid which brings into question the need for additional meeting room space when the pre-Covid meeting room utilization was only 28%.
  • Increases in child and youth programs suggest reconfiguration of the existing space for this purpose is a current need.
  • The current library building is in excellent condition as reflected by the 2009 and 2014 Engineering studies completed by Harwood Engineering.

Detailed Analysis:

Printed books and serial volumes owned by the APL have decreased from 326,112 in 2009 to 207,322 in 2019, a decrease of 36.4%.  In 2019 alone, the total printed books and serial volumes declined 15.5%. [1]

Total Circulation for the APL has decreased from 1,564,887 in 2009 to 878,122 in 2019, a decrease of 44%.  In 2019 alone, the total circulation declined 8.0%. [1]

Library Visits at the APL have decreased from 590,525 in 2009 to 408,532 in 2019, a decrease of 30.8%.  In 2019 alone, the library visits declined 7.3%. [1]

E-books available at the APL have increased 1208% from 2009 to 2019. [1]

Use of Public Internet computers at the APL have decreased 73% from 2009 to 2019. [1]

Statewide library usage has declined mirroring the decline at the APL.[2]

Current meeting rooms at the APL are underutilized.  An analysis of meeting room usage completed in 2018 indicated that only 28% of the available time slots are being used for meetings. [7]

Program Attendance for the APL has increased from 34,500 in 2009 to 53,878 in 2019, an increase of 56.2%. The Children’s program attendance has increased from 27,706 in 2009 to 45,473 in 2019 which is the driving force behind the increase in program attendance. [1]

Size of the Current Library a brief history– The current APL was built in 1981 and was 70,000 square feet.  The previous APL was 20,000 square feet.  The previous library held 157,000 volumes of printed material.  In 1981 the new APL held 167,000 volumes and it was designed to hold 300,000 volumes. It took approximately 15 years to reach 270,000 volumes which resulted in a request to expand the size of the library.  In 1995 a second floor was added to the west wing of the library bringing the APL to its current size of 86,600 square feet. From 1998 to 2009 the volumes of printed materials increased to 326,000.  Currently APL has 207,322 volumes of printed material.[3]

Condition of the current library – A 2009 engineering study described the condition of the current APL as excellent.  A subsequent 2014 engineering study reaffirmed that the library was in excellent condition. [4]

Expansion of the current library – A 2008 study found that 12,000 square feet (13.8% increase) could be added to the current library by adding a second floor to the east wing of the APL.[5]

Engineering Study – A $12,000 engineering study is needed to determine the feasibility of adding square footage to the second floor of the APL.  A request was made to the council in August of 2019 however this proposal was not taken up for consideration. [6]


[1] The data for this calculation can be found at the following website:

2 A summary of statewide library trends can be found at this website:…/files/imce/pld/pdf/wiplservicetrends

3 The APL building program summary for the 1995 expansion can be found on the second floor of the APL. 

4 Final Building assessment report, August 20, 2014 completed by Harwood Engineering Consultants.

5 2008 study completed by Durrant and Himmel Wilson

6 August 9, 2018 proposal submitted by Larson Engineering Incorporated, Appleton, WI.


Appleton Public Library Facts