Posted 8:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

Students studying at Murphy Library

Plan your visit to Murphy Library by using live facility counts, now online!

By Scott Pfitzinger (he/him/his)

Libraries have kept track of the number of patrons within their buildings for many, many years. At Murphy Library, there is a gate count that lets us know how many people have entered the building in a day. Student workers also conduct an hourly count that lets us know how many people are in the building each hour. That information helps us make decisions about staffing, what hours to be open, etc. Some libraries also rely on these numbers to justify their budgets or sometimes even their existence. 

In summer 2022, Murphy Library began using a new system for counting users in the building. We had been using an iPad to keep track of how many people were in different parts of the building every hour. However, this was a cumbersome process that consisted of recording the count on an iPad, emailing those numbers to our Circulation Desk, and then manually entering the numbers into a spreadsheet. While this allowed us to create a digital record for this data, we wanted to find an easier, more useful way of collecting and using this information. 

Live facility counts on Murphy Library website

The Rec Center here at UW-La Crosse was already using a system designed for rec centers called Connect2Concepts that, among other things, allowed the Rec to post hourly counts of their facility on their website, enabling its users to plan their visit and avoid busy times. We thought a similar system could be useful in the library, so we contacted Connect2Concepts and were able to create a customized platform utilizing just the counting and reporting parts of their software. This made us the first library to use their system! Now we not only get digital storage of our hourly patron count numbers, but the numbers also get posted to our website. So, when someone wants to use a study room, for example, they can now look on the website and see how many are available. 

The next time you want to plan your visit to Murphy Library, you can see our Live Facility Count in action on our website or go to the library home page and click on “Hours and Live Facility Counts.”  

Learn more about this customized platform called Connect2MyLibrary and access special pricing for friends of UW-La Crosse here!