By Amber Mussman, Community Relations Manager, Cedar Rapids Public Library
Public libraries in the 21st century are regularly faced with the question of relevance. They fight an ongoing battle for funding, loss of staff, and a constant lack of resources. In 2015, with two brand new libraries open and a very new director in place, the Cedar Rapids Public Library realized that in order to continue to be successful we must focus our efforts on meeting our community needs and telling our story.
In order to be able to accurately respond to the needs of our patrons, we needed to have the right tools. Analytics On Demand offers us the ability to use real data to drive our programming, marketing and strategic planning. Through the use of Patron Profiles, we are able to understand how our library is aligned with the community as well as find opportunities for growth.
Being a new director means having to absorb a great deal of information all at once, and trying to do that while also learning about the makeup of the community can be overwhelming. Director Dara Schmidt saw the Patron Profile app as a unique opportunity to propel her community knowledge forward at a greater pace and to also help guide her vision. Now she can pull a report based on our very own community demographics that will help her define what services we provide and how we provide them, using real data to back her up. And following the data after the fact to see the changes in how our community responds allows her to react, adjusting to the community needs and desires based on hard data. That’s a story she can tell.
Our library also sees great opportunity for direct marketing our services using the Marketing Action Patrons and Marketing Action Non-Patron apps. These apps allow us to target our marketing directly to the intended audience. In the past, we would create a marketing element and mass distribute it to our community, hoping we were hitting someone who cared. This approach is both costly and wasteful. We have the ability now to focus these efforts specifically on the audience we hope to reach, using data we have pulled from the app. Now, our materials will be more focused and less general, and we will have a far greater impact.
While we are just at the beginning our our data-driven journey, we are excited about the prospects and what this will mean for us moving forward. Each month we are running reports to show us how our community is changing and using the data to inform our strategic direction. Having facts behind us to point us in the right direction means jumping ahead of the learning curve and achieving our goals sooner. Even more importantly, it means achieving the right goals for our community.
Connecting with Donors at Emmet O’Neal Library
By Sue DeBrecht, director, Emmet O’Neal Library
Gale’s Analytics On Demand has provided me a unique opportunity to make a connection with an exclusive population: long-term, loyal financial donors who know what a valuable resource Emmet O’Neal Library is, who eagerly support the vision of the Library, but who no longer have or have never had library accounts. I have known many of these people for years as an administrator and I would love to have them back, not just as donors but also as patrons. Analytics On Demand is making that a distinct possibility.
I am eager to use the Analytics On Demand data to bridge the gap to these donors. As responsible stewards of their generosity, we want to connect them outside the traditional “brick & mortar” paradigm, and let them know what worthwhile services we offer to them, and the community at large. Learn more about Emmet O’Neal’s analytics story >>