As libraries work to fit into the changing landscape of our highly digitized society, many have found that their mission has shifted from that of a lending library to community anchors that are centers for academic life and research as well as cherished community spaces. In the midst of this changing landscape, libraries continue to battle for funding as tight municipal operating budgets seek to fund competing community priorities.
It is in this environment that libraries are being asked to prove their worth by providing accurate visitor counts in order to secure much needed funding. To gain an accurate count of visitor usage, libraries need to take a page from what retail establishments have known for years: a people counter over the door provides highly accurate data that can be used to count overall library patronage as well as measure patronage on a daily or an even hourly basis.
Traditionally, libraries have relied on a count of checked out materials as a measure of patronage. In our modern society, where patrons are as likely to attend a special event or to conduct Internet research as they are to check out a book or video, relying on checkout counts fails to capture a large portion of the library’s visitors.
Libraries may employ other methods to count patrons. Some libraries task staff with manually counting visitors, which is highly inaccurate, while others use beam counters, which can be easily manipulated. Still other libraries use security cameras as a means of obtaining visitors counts. Security cameras are set at an angle to capture facial features for security purposes, making it difficult to get accurate counts.
Over-the-door counting sensors provide the most accurate count of library patrons. What’s more, the counts they provide are time-stamped, so that library visitor traffic can be attributed to any time period, whether by hour, day of the week, month, etc. The sensors also determine whether a visitor is entering or exiting the library. Counting sensors can be set at a height that eliminates accidentally counted objects, such as book carts and strollers.
With so much riding on an accurate visitor count, it is essential that libraries adopt a more robust means of gathering this essential data. Over-the-door people counters offer libraries the best, most unobtrusive means of obtaining essential patron counts.
Find out more about how CountBOX can help your library solve its people counting issues today. Call us at (312) 940-4641. Want to see our technology in action? Check us out at the upcoming America Library Association show at booth 1761D in the “mobile app” section.
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