Library staff are constantly looking for ways to better reach and serve their local communities. From post-event surveys to embedded librarianship to collecting circulation statistics, libraries have different strategies for gathering information and measuring service success. Market segmentation and big data, two terms popular in the corporate world, can also help libraries make informed decisions about collections and services.
Posts Tagged ‘big data’
In the near future, a man who has an overdue book will walk into a library. A librarian behind a desk will get an alert on her mobile phone, tablet, or computer screen. After waiting a moment for him to approach the counter or place the book in a drop, she follows him to the stacks when he doesn’t. “Excuse me, Mr. Smith?” she says. “Our system shows you have a book overdue. Did you happen to bring it with you today?”
Data science isn’t a common term. So let’s start with an increasingly popular term: big data. Big data earned buzz word status with employers several years ago, and numerous vendors are now talking about big data in libraries. Big data generally refers to the storage and management of large data sets. In this field, it would not be uncommon to work with a sizable datasets of five terabytes or larger. By comparison, five terabytes would hold approximately one million music tracks (85,000 hours of music).
.On March 1, 2016, Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 466 into effect, taking a step toward recouping business losses for Wisconsin’s public libraries that tally in the millions. According to a report by WTMJ-TV, Wisconsin library patrons annually fail to return $3 million in taxpayer-owned materials. Instead of encouraging patrons to be more conscientious, however, will this bill do more harm to Wisconsin’s library patronage? With the possible consequences, patrons may look for new options to borrowing materials from a brick-and-mortar library.
I wrote a few months ago about the data skills that future academic librarians can develop—but what would a data librarian look like in a public library? In this post, I’d like to review a few data concepts, outline potential differences between academic and public librarians, and suggest ways that public librarians could bring data to their patrons.
Big data is everywhere and patrons are increasingly turning to libraries to learn not only what it is, but how it can help their businesses. And just as businesses use big data to target their customers and generate more sales, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) saw an opportunity to better determine how to best deliver relevant content to its users by implementing big data. Their experience is one that could well help other public libraries leverage all their data to best serve patron needs.