theTICKER
Traverse City News and Events
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Today's News
Share | RSS Feed  

How Traverse City Really "Uses" Its Library

September 14, 2013
How Traverse City Really "Uses" Its Library

If The Ticker told you 288,991 books had been checked out from the Traverse Area District Library (TADL) so far this year, would you believe it?

Believe it, because now you can check that stat – and many others – for yourself by viewing TADL’s new statistical dashboard www.tadl.org/stats – an “open book” of daily activity and usage of the six-branch system that tracks everything from books checked out to Wi-Fi hours logged on.

“I love looking at data of all kinds, but not everyone does,” says TADL Director Metta Landsdale of the system that offers data and insight into material circulation, library use and collection size. “The dashboard presents what I believe is excellent TADL performance in a way that more and more people can absorb and appreciate.”

In addition to those nearly 290,000 adult books, 222,658 children’s books have been checked out in 2013, along with 205,484 movies, 109,578 albums, 17,217 magazines, 31,492 audiobooks and even 2,456 puppets. TC’s most popular read right now, according to circulation figures? First Sight by Danielle Steele. Movie? The James Bond thriller Skyfall. Music? 21 by Adele.

All the data can be viewed district-wide or by each of the six individual libraries. “That allows our champions and our critics to see the value of the different community libraries and how they each serve their communities differently,” adds Lansdale.

Think you see more people in front of a computer than a book when you’ve been at the library lately?

Here’s what the numbers say: 65,504 public computing sessions so far in 2013 by 9,786 users totaling 55,541 hours district-wide. Additionally, it has recorded 76,208 wireless sessions by 14,340 unique devices.

Lansdale says the dashboard’s graphs detailing computer and wireless usage by week illustrate “the pressure on public libraries for continual improvement of broadband to support our visitors with mobile devices and also how the use of public computers, although still strong, is declining.”

Scott Morey, assistant director of technology for TADL, is part of the team that launched the statistical dashboard, created by using common, open-source, free software.

“The interesting thing is we got so many calls and emails from people – from as far away as Spain and Greece – wanting to know how we did it,” Morey says. So the library has published its “how to” for all to see here. (Warning: Not for the technophobe!)

Morey sees the benefit of the dashboard as two-fold. First, while regular patrons often see the library as a bustling place, people who don’t utilize it may carry the perception that libraries are a thing of the past.

Lansdale agrees: “It demonstrates that the love and appreciation of books and public libraries is increasing, not declining – arguments to the contrary notwithstanding.”

It also gives the library’s board of directors a very clear picture of what is going on, adds Morey. “If you don’t measure, it’s hard to manage,” he says. “We can access it ourselves and put it into context.”

Adds Lansdale, “With so much attention on the performance of municipalities, including the public library, it is critical that we continually improve the transparency of library business operations. I believe we have achieved that - in spades - with a tool we can continually improve.”


Most Recent Comments

 
Sue on September 24, 2013 9:27am

I love the online reserve service and self-checkout! But I agree with others that the ebook service is too limited. Sure, there are lots of free / publicly available ebooks out there, but they aren't the ones I want to read. I think the library should start putting more resources into e-versions of the most popular paper books people check out.

Nan on September 17, 2013 7:45am

I started using the e-services as soon as they were available. However, I soon discovered that the selection was quite limited and the wait period was very long. I would like to see an expansion of those services. Overall, however, I love having the library resources available and find my experiences at the main branch to be pleasant.

Tom on September 16, 2013 3:42pm

I love the library. I only wish we could get back to the libraries of old--WHISPER!!! And now it's all about cell phone use. Turn them off!!!

Jeannie on September 16, 2013 9:56am

I love the library, but I am positive that the number of checked out books is too low. Paperbacks are not scanned out at the main library, so they are not included in the count.

Selfchecks... on September 16, 2013 9:39am

are the way to go! The people that work at the TADL aren't that friendly! With the checkouts in place I hope that let a couple of the really friendly workers go if you know what I mean. Some are just too mean if you ask me.

Heather on September 16, 2013 9:36am

My children and I love TADL. We live in Lake Ann, and love using the "Big Library" as my kids are fond of saying. Thank you for having such a great resource available to the public. I plan on trying out more of TADL's ebooks and music.

Kathy on September 15, 2013 11:03am

I download ebooks most often now. I didn't think I would like reading on a my iPad but I love it! Living between Kingsley & Fife, it is nice on a winter day to just download rather than trek out to get a book. Having only 1 book per is sometimes difficult as you might have to wait months to read what you want ie: Janet Evanovich, where I am 10 out of 13, which puts me months out. I love the main library as I can use it for meetings when I am in TC and it is a great place with wi-fi where I can go between meetings to make notes of meetings or just chill for a while.

Tom Webster on September 15, 2013 9:24am

I live in Interlochen and not only use our library but also the main one as well.I don't want to buy books so this works out great.And the main library is beautiful.Plus lots of music to listen to.Great resource

Metta Lansdale on September 14, 2013 5:36pm

JDP, we are watching the growing use of e-books and other downloadable resources. In the last 12 months, TADL registered borrowers have downloaded 34,823 books, audiobooks, music and video. This represents about 2.6% of total loans from the collection in the same period. There are currently 3,523 unique users with Overdrive e-books in use. We see about 100 new e-book users per month. We began two new services in April; we hope you will try Zinio for magazines and OneClickDigital for audio books (which is bringing us a new collection of e-books "soon").

JDP on September 14, 2013 9:39am

I'd be curious to learn the stats for how many people use their e-library services to download e-books on iPads, Kindles, etc. It's such a great resource, but definitely has fewer offerings than some other e-libraries I've been a part of. I'd love to see the e-book selection grow.

Local Resources
Classifieds

Classifieds

Real Estate

Real Estate

Obituaries

Obituaries

Marriages

Marriages

New Businesses

New Businesses

 
More News
Region's Least Wanted Invasives
Region's Least Wanted Invasives
Design Week Comes to TC
Design Week Comes to TC
What is FootGolf?
What is FootGolf?
Your Preview of a Crowded 104th Race
Your Preview of a Crowded 104th Race
Break-In at Toys R Us
Break-In at Toys R Us
72nd Rotary Show Opens Tonight
72nd Rotary Show Opens Tonight
Try Curling This Saturday
Try Curling This Saturday
New Looks, Brands for Downtown Traverse City Bars
New Looks, Brands for Downtown Traverse City Bars
your ad here