A library is all about books but library programming is all about people. Even though libraries are viewed as a valuable community resource, they are increasingly asked to justify operating budgets and prove that the public is engaged with the programs the library offers.
This puts pressure on libraries to offer high quality and highly successful programming. The best way to choose the best programs for your library, to justify budgets and to show that your programming is working is to measure the number of people participating.
Counting People is Worth the Effort
This requires a library-wide effort to constantly count the number of patrons at any given moment, at any given program. Many libraries tackle this manually, using volunteers and employees as human tally sheets leaving room for errors and inaccurate counts.
More and more libraries, however, are turning to digital people counters for a more accurate and infinitely easier way to get the data needed to aid in library programming decisions and to improve existing programming.
Imagine accurate attendance reports, concrete funding proposals, improved maintenance and security. All a result of simply counting people.
Annual Programming Attendance Reports
Utilizing a people counter to measure attendance for annual programs is one of the main ways libraries use the systems for data collection. Accurate people counts determine not just the success of a program but also gives a baseline to measure future success.
Aggregating historic data over time is going to result in an accurate picture, rather than an assumption, about your library programming and whether you are attracting the community to your library.
Project and Program Funding Proposals
Funding proposals for library programming are mere guesses without precise figures to back up requests. Having better data is going to result in better funding requests when you can illustrate the effectiveness of a specific program and justify budgetary needs.
Having a people counter in place takes the burden off your library staff to provide the numbers you need. The data is already there, ready to be analyzed and included in the budget when you need it.
Taking the guess work out of supply ordering and restocking sounds ideal, doesn’t it? While facility maintenance is a facet of the library operations that is often a reactive effort, people counting can actually put you in a position to be proactive about maintaining your facilities.
A people counter placed at restroom entrances allows you to monitor activity and to plan accordingly. It even gives you insight into the most strategic points in the day to restock and clean with minimal interference to visitors while always having enough TP and soap in stock for busier times and big events.
You may not have thought of this but people counters positioned at exits can make your library more secure. Knowing roughly how many visitors are in the library at any given time gives you framework for scheduling security guards.
Determine when security needs are minimal like during the weekdays when it’s quiet to reduce man power and plan for added security to handle the increased volume during weekends or special programs when visitors increase.
Counting People Arms You With Knowledge
Do you have an accurate count for how many people attended your last event or how many people walked through your doors yesterday? Consider what you would do with the information if you had it. It could make the world of a difference in making informed decisions for your library programming, when asking for funding, and maintaining and securing your facility.