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Library Challenges Data Error in West Suburban Living Magazine

WC Public Library

     In a recent “Letter to the Editor,” the West Chicago Public Library District took to task incorrect data published by West Suburban Living Magazine in their May/June 2012 issue featuring the “Top Towns in Which to Live.” Approximately 33% of West Chicago’s population are library district card holders, and they check out an average of 28.2 items per year, as reported to the Illinois State Library in their Illinois Public Library Annual Report (IPLAR) last year. The magazine incorrectly reported that the average annual circulation was only 1.9 items

     “I am distressed by the impression of our community of library users made by such incorrect data,” said Administrative Librarian Melody E. Coleman in her letter to the magazine’s editor, Chuck Cozette.  She added, “While I can appreciate your goal of taking an ‘in-depth look at what makes our towns distinctive,’ I feel that any attempt at statistical analysis bears with it a responsibility to perform the necessary due diligence to ensure that your calculations are correct.”

The magazine’s Assistant Editor, Brittany Clingen, has indicated that the magazine intends to print a correction.  While this effort is certainly appreciated on the part of the Library, Ms. Coleman pointed out that, “the original chart is what undoubtedly will be referenced by others going forward.”  Her viewpoint was born out just this week when Daily Herald reporter Hannah Meisel used the information in the West Suburban Living chart to inform her July 9 article on public libraries “Bridging the Digital Divide.”  “It is unfortunate,” said the magazine’s editor, Lauren Dixon, of the error, “because the chart is already out there.”

     It is the mission of the West Chicago Public Library District to meet the recreational, informational and lifelong learning needs of its residents as measured, in part, by library collection usage.  Pointing to the magazine’s article as a point of evaluation as people choose where to live, Ms. Coleman added, “I hope the magazine will do everything in their power to correct the impression that our Library District is anything but a wonderful place to live.”

  • Contact:  Shelley Campbell, Public Relations Specialist
    West Chicago Public Library District
    Phone:  (630) 231-1552, ext. 128
    FAX:  (630) 231-1709


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