Have you ever noticed as you enter Malvern Public Library that there are two small, black boxes on either side of the door? Probably not.
But those boxes play an important role in determining the library's funding. The tally of people who enter of the library is one of the factors used to determine the funding the library receives. The same is true of all 18 libraries in the Chester County Library System.
Malvern Librarian Rosalie Dietz explained via email that the electronic meters are still fairly new:
It is quite an improvement from the manual count that we tried to keep in the past (which often was a guess at best!)
The people count is part of the formula that focuses on Customer Touch that figures into the distribution of county and state aid. This wasn’t included in the formula until all libraries had the electronic meter.
The other components of the Customer Touch system are circulation, program attendance and, eventually, computer usage, according to Dietz.
We don’t have a uniform means of tracking computer usage throughout the system so that is not included yet. The formula is made up of four components: Service Area, Customer Touch, Local Financial Effort and Market Value Multiplier.