Driving Decisions with Data

How can you ensure your library’s goals and initiatives support households in your community? This past July we sat down with Jason Kucsma, deputy director at Toledo Lucas County (Ohio) Public Library and 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, to provide his thoughts on libraries measuring up. Grab some coffee and listen as Jason discusses … Read more

Data-Driven Decision Making Ideally Locates New Library Construction

Posted on May 9, 2016

When Dedham Public Library realized the time had come to replace both its 19th century main library and early 20th century branch, the primary question was, where is the best place to construct a new library to meet the needs of our 21st century patrons?

A professional librarian with more than four decades of experience in public and academic libraries was called upon to help answer the question. Mary Ann Tricarico, BA, MLS, MA, DA, began researching, tabulating and analyzing information to create a strategic planning document to optimally locate the new construction. “All my career I’ve been involved in answering complex questions about communities, patron populations, borrowing patterns and usage data – all hand- calculated and hand-tabulated,” she says, noting that it’s an expensive and time- consuming activity.

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Data-Driven Marketing: Know Your Community

Analytics tool for Public Libraries

By Gerry Sawchuk

It’s impossible to attend a conference or read a library magazine today without hearing about data-driven decision making, big data, and measuring outcomes. Amidst the increasing “noise” around any trending topic, it can be hard to determine what it means for you and what tools are available to help gather and analyze data—here are some details to help you get started.

Do Analytics Really Matter?

“Big data” and “analytics” are buzzwords for good reason. Businesses in other industries have relied heavily on consumer demographics and data analysis for years. Research shows that businesses that leverage data analytics have stronger financial performance, are able to make better decisions more quickly, and are more likely to execute those decisions as intended.

Why does this matter to you? Libraries are not businesses, right? Many libraries are understandably sensitive to being compared to for-profit businesses. Consider for a moment though, that as a library, your products are the content and services you provide, and that your customers are your patrons. Profit aside, libraries have much to gain by leveraging data to retain and grow customers. Quite simply, there is an opportunity to be better positioned to meet the needs of your patrons.

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