Sage Advice: Are You Looking at Usage

Sarah Houghton-Jan discussed DRM and usage of electronic resources:

Hint to Libraries: Please examine your online resource statistics. When you’re shelling out thousands a pop, it wouldn’t be too much of a burden to make sure those resources are actually being used. Right? 🙂 You might be surprised that the resources your staff tell you they use all the time are actually the lowest-used in your collection…or what you think might be used, based on instinct, just isn’t. At that point, you have to ask yourself why, and make adjustments in PR, staff training, staff promotion of the resources to the public, and look at the barriers to access on your website or the vendor’s site. See if the numbers rise after making some changes, but give it at least 6 months – it will take time.

This is wisdom that we all should take and use. For 5 years, I was in charge of the database money and contracts at SJCPL. I remember finding lower than low numbers and hearing some staff say “Our patrons love that database…they’ll be mad if we drop it…” Using evidence – numbers, reports, statistics — is the way to make sure what you are providing is used. Please read the whole post, it’s excellent!