How is public library usage trending nationally? How does usage compare with pre-recession levels? How are investments in public libraries reflected in their usage? These are all questions explored in the Public Libraries in the United States Survey (PLS) for FY 2013. This annual statistical report by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) shows how public library usage is changing over time. While some of the major public library output measures are showing short-term declines, many continue to show a ten-year increase in activity.
Posts Tagged ‘patron data’
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.
Quick—how do you deal with a patron who is wearing a big coat on a hot day? Who do you tell when your shelver trips and breaks their arm rearranging the westerns? What can be done about the DVDs you keep having to replace because they go missing from the collection so often? If you are lucky, you can consult with your security team on these issues.
The pendulum, it swings. Eight years ago, my charge as a technology librarian was to herd the cats — to introduce new technology and ways of serving the digital patron to an organization that was largely skeptical of change. Cut to now, and I’m … still herding cats. Only, this time, it’s the folks at all levels of the organization who want to incorporate tech into every service they can think of. Sunrise, sunset.
Does that mean we’ve had a complete polar shift in the way technology operates in libraries? Yes, but also no. Maybe we’ll even throw a “maybe” in there for good measure. The pendulum will keep swinging, meaning we’ve got to be ready for shifts in either direction. Sound confusing? Of course it is. There’s a tremendous tension between the wish to provide stability and the urge to forge new ground. In our quest to provide quality service and access to all, it’s no wonder we feel pulled in all directions at once.