As an academic librarian, I measured library outcomes by tracking a variety of statistics related to usage and circulation. At Anthem College, our accrediting body required us to track and report library usage, but I also wanted to develop a more comprehensive tracking system. Initially, we only tracked the number of patrons visiting the library each day. While the sign in logs were kept, no one evaluated what students were using the library. I was able to identify numerous reports through out library management software, LibraryWorld, that allowed for tracking of additional metrics. I also identified more detail for the metrics we were already tracking. This allowed me to consider how the library was being used and by whom, and develop strategies to address any problem areas.
These documents show overall metrics tracked between 2011 and 2014. For each metric, I maintained a separate sheet within an Excel spreadsheet. I ran the reports at the end of the month and updated the totals accordingly to track statistics from month to month. Overall trends are tracked using the following metrics:
- Patron count: Measured the number of patrons using the library each month. This was documented sign ins with the sign in log.
- Average number of patrons per day: Measured the average number of patrons seen in the library each month. This was determined by calculating the number of days of library service and dividing this number into the number of patrons visiting per month.
- Percentage of library use by program: Measured the percentage of students for each program offered using the library. This information was recorded on the daily sign in logs.
- Library usage as a percentage of active population: Measured the percentage of library users as compared to the active student count. While this did not take into account repeat students using the library (i.e. students using the library multiple days per week), it did give an idea of the overall usage by students and offered some context for the variations in number based on campus size.
- Circulation activity: Measured the check ins, check outs, and renewals within a monthly period. The numbers show the yearly averages for these categories. These numbers were tracked through the library management system.
- OPAC searches: Measured the number of searches performed in the online library catalog. These numbers were tracked through the library management system.