2476 Checkouts — How Do You Measure a Year?

Inspired by a public library post, I decided to forgo my usual (boring) year-end write-up and make an (exciting!) infographic instead. I thought using Canva would make this an easy task, but alas, nothing seems to be easy these days, right? Although Canva has a lot of infographic templates, nothing really met my expectations so I made modifications to one. That settled the structure, but now I faced the real challenge: what to include. How do we measure success? More importantly, what can we share with administrators and other stakeholders that will be meaningful and impactful? I keep thinking about the recent listserve discussion regarding staffing needs and asking for more support — could the right statistics make a difference?

I decided to start playing around with data from 2021-22 so that I have a solid template to start with when this year ends. 

I began by mining the data points that I already collect:

  • Checkouts
  • Door Count
  • Home Page Visits
  • Database Searches

2476 checkouts…that doesn’t look very impressive, does it? Should I include more details? How many fiction books? How many books by students? How many books for US history thesis papers? One issue with a robust LMS system with basically infinite reporting is where to stop and what to show. What interests and impresses me might not ring true for an administrator who rarely steps foot in the library.

The door count seems straightforward, but our new counter totals hourly which allows us to really illustrate how busy we are at lunchtime — should we emphasize that? Is that manipulating data, or does it just illustrate how many students use our building between 11 and 1 every day?

I began to think about the unrecognized things we do, like our 1-on-1 thesis meetings. The other librarian and I meet with every junior at least once (some return again and again and again…) to go over their topics, research strategy, and citations. This takes a lot of time and energy and many people have no idea about it.  

Oddly enough, one of the things I am proud of this year is our Instagram account. We have done a lot of posting and some outreach to raise our followers (@peskylibrary — check us out!), but I know that our paltry 161 followers is pretty lame, so do I share it anyway?

With some trepidation, I share the draft of what I have so far.

I definitely want to add some comparisons to last year to show growth, and I’m considering changing the color scheme…obviously still a major work in progress. Hopefully, my infographic inspires someone else — even in draft form.

Good luck to everyone in the last months of the year:)

2 thoughts on “2476 Checkouts — How Do You Measure a Year?

  1. Wow – really nice job on this! It’s the kind of thing I always wanted to do but never had time for. It’s clear and succinct and will give you some great visual comparison points for the future.

    Meanwhile I’m trying to get my head around “the other librarian and I.” My dream was to have a second librarian but alas it never happened, though we have two fabulous librarian assistants. Those 113 meetings are a direct result of having two people who can coach students through their research. Well done!

    • Thanks so much:)
      Yes, we are really lucky to have two full-time librarians or we could never make that happen. 90% of those appointments happen in 3 weeks and we are both flat out all day and into the evening.

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