Measurements that Matter: Analyzing Patron Behavior

Course Objectives:

Presenter: Joan Frye Williams

Do you wish your library got more credit for its wide range of offerings? Do you sometimes feel pressured to make tough choices without adequate information? Has your library documented everything there is to know about how items move through the system, and next to nothing about how users move between services? Are you reluctant to delve into patron data for fear of compromising confidentiality?

If you suspect that better data might contribute to better decisions, you're right! Let's face it – as library services evolve, traditional statistics paint an increasingly limited picture of what's really going on. Today's library is supposed to be a "people place," yet we pay relatively little attention to people-related data. In this webinar we'll explore the human side of library measurement, taking special care to improve our understanding of our users without sacrificing confidentiality or invading their privacy.

You do not need previous knowledge of statistical methods or research techniques to benefit from this discussion. We'll focus on simple, practical approaches to analyzing:

Patron recruitment and retention, Usage life-cycles, In-building navigation and browsing, Past and future demand for services, Target audiences' communications preferences, and Overall patterns of library use.

You'll learn low and no-cost methods for gathering patron data, including the kinds of reports you can reasonably request from your IT department or automated system vendor.

Whether you're scheduling desk coverage, defending a budget, reaching out to new users, writing a grant, planning an ad campaign, or just trying to figure out which services are working well and which may need another look, this webinar will help you make sense of the patron side of the equation.

This webinar will be of interest to anyone who collects, reviews, interprets, presents, or makes decisions based on library service statistics, including library managers, supervisors, team leaders, and professional staff, other library service developers and designers, IT/systems personnel, grant writers, trustees and commissioners, and anyone who is interested in using data to improve services to library users.