It’s summer at last, and that means that many of you may have time to take stock a little—see what needs tweaking for the fall, what can go, and what needs a complete overhaul. You’ll have an idea of how your various initiatives are going, of course, but to make the most informed decisions you should rely on usage statistics.
If the idea of statistics strikes fear into your heart, you’re not alone! Many find stats daunting; added to that is the idea that they are overly malleable, with the same numbers usable to paint quite different pictures. Below are some articles and sites that aim to ease the tasks of gathering and using statistics, and to allow you to tell a complete story of your library’s work and progress. They’re purposely not from academic library sources as a look at how other kinds of libraries do things might spark some new ideas.
Working with Library Statistics
National Network of Libraries of Medicine
This helpful document describes how to measure various kinds of library usage, including information literacy classes. The page also links to guidance on figuring out journal value using related usage numbers, something that can be difficult to calculate.
Proving Our Worth: Library Measurement and Metrics
International Librarians Network
In addition to discussing library statistic usage generally, this article links to information on benchmarking, meaning the measurement of how your library compares to others. Showing that your library does a certain number of one-shot classes per semester, for example, is useful enough, but it is more instructive to show how that compares to the numbers at other libraries of the same type and size.
Practical Tips to Help You Prove Your Value
Amelia Kassel, Information Today
“Transforming libraries into recognized corporate assets has its challenges,” notes marketing expert Kassel, whose advice lends itself to libraries that are expected to produce business-oriented statistics such as return on investment.
Best practices for demonstrating the value of your library services
Canadian Association of Law Libraries
2010 was a dire time economically, with librarians everywhere fearing for their budgets and jobs. It’s helpful to read this guidance from that time, which urges readers to look high and low for ways to demonstrate their library’s importance. The number of cataloging records added” and citation analyses performed are some of the less-commonly counted items discussed.
How can you use the suggestions and concepts from these resources to tell the story of your library through usage statistics? Please join the conversation in the Credo InfoLit Learning Community! Sign up here to get started!