Libraries Count on Patrons

Literally—they count you as you walk in the door.

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. 
Susan January 09, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Good article Pete! One of my New Year's resolutions is visiting the Library more often and doing more reading in general. Malvern's library is an invaluable resource and conveniently located. And if they don't have it, they can get it through the Chester County library system. Knowing that funding depends on participation, I am doubly committed to getting there more often.
BillJ January 09, 2013 at 10:11 PM
I agree Susan. This is a very good to know article by Pete. I'll will drop in a few times this year (up from zero) to show support.
Karen Warner January 18, 2013 at 02:04 PM
I love the Malvern Library. I order my books on line and then go over and pick them up when I get the e mail to let me know they are ready. Everyone is so helpful and kind.


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