Over the course of time industry trends tend to shift, libraries are no different. In order to attract patrons, public libraries have found themselves evolving into a library of things as well as social and digital hubs. These spaces give people access to a number of opportunities that they may otherwise not have access to.
In order for libraries to offer these different opportunities and programs to patrons, they must first understand their library and the community members who utilize it. A great way to see the full picture of what is happening within your library or library system is to install people counting sensors. These sensors have the capability of providing raw data on library traffic trends and patterns that can be analyzed and formed into actionable plans to assist in attracting patrons to your library.
Fill in data gaps
A personalization strategy will only be as successful as the data set given. By installing a people counting system like the SenSource VIDX and Vea reporting platform, libraries will be able to see where patrons go the most within their library. Librarians will be able to monitor traffic levels during specific days and times to monitor program participation or even different areas in the library. Traffic flow may be congested in certain areas of the library deterring some patrons from visiting but if they adjust the floorplan of the library and create a better flow people will be able to peruse shelves or use different technology offerings freely.
Programs & Campaigns
Successful libraries create a strong sense of community. By offering a variety of programs to their patrons they are able to build this. Continuous analysis of programs and campaigns is important to the success of any strategy. This allows management to understand what is working and what is not. As Gene Homicki, co-founder and CEO of myTurn stated, “many community-based Library of Things locations lend over 1,000 items per week, offer classes, and have workshops or makerspaces.” That’s a lot of data to be gathered and analyzed over time to understand the full picture of the library and having a system in place to assist with the duty is a huge time saver.
Planning timely and relevant offerings
By understanding patron traffic trends through your library you’ll be better armed to create programs within the library to draw in the most traffic. Traffic data telling you the most visited parts of your library and busiest days or times will help you decide the topic of your next program and the best time to hold events. Certain topics might also be more popular during certain times of year as well, depending on holidays or seasons, you may plan programs accordingly.
Libraries efficiently run their facilities by determining which hours of the day are busiest and which areas are seeing the most usage. Staffing for specific programs and events at the library is key to a successful event. After planning the program you will need to look at past program traffic to see how many extra staff members will be required to hold the event. If you overstaff then you risk losing out on funding dollars that are already tight but if you understaff the event patrons may leave displeased with the lack of service and may not return for future events. Watching and forecasting traffic trends are easily reported within the Vea reporting platforms dashboards and can easily be shared with other staff members within a single library or even a large library system.
Libraries with a SenSource platform installed have the capability of viewing year-over-year data to know if patrons are being receptive to changes libraries are making. Although libraries are keeping up with the changing trends with patrons, they are also under great pressure to justify and preserve their funding in order to offer these programs and events. Providing reliable, statistical information on the usage of the facility is pertinent to accomplishing this.