Easy-to-create charts show how libraries like yours compare in terms of total operating income per person and other statistics.
The Normative Data Project (NDP) for Libraries is an exciting new initiative that offers your institution a new view of what’s going on inside libraries in North America. With NDP data, you can identify trends, conduct analyses, and make decisions for the future. As the need increases for libraries to optimize operations, maximize resources, enhance services, extend “market” penetration, and grow revenue, you now can turn to a real-world set of industry norms based on transactions taking place within libraries. Unlike information available in the past, NDP actually reveals what goes on inside libraries and not just information about libraries. The difference is considerable.
As a cooperative effort by hundreds of public libraries and leading library community organizations in North America, the NDP brings together transaction-level library data that lets you make real decisions based on real data from the real world. Then by linking library data with geographic and demographic data, you can measure your library against industry norms on circulation, collections, finances, and other parameters.
No one has a crystal ball to predict the future, but you can benefit from the data mirrored in this project to prepare for changes in usage patterns, to choose new facility sites, prepare budgets, present important evidence to board members and other funding authorities, and make other decisions with greater insight than ever before possible. You may find, for instance, that data from other libraries shows that your library spends less per user than others, making a convincing argument that your library is underfunded compared to others. Or demographic information may show that an investment in your Spanish collection will be a sound decision leading to increased circulation, not a guess based on assumptions.
Although NDP does not compromise library users’ privacy by collecting specific user information, it does gather real data on collections, circulation transactions, user demographics, library income, and other operational measurements. To this it adds valuable data from the GeoLib Program (www.geolib.org), the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Census, and potentially local, state, or regional sources of data. Using this geographic and demographic data, library service areas can be defined and analyzed for all types of measurements, from the area’s population and ethnicity to levels of education and much more. And all this data can be presented online attractively with drag-and-drop capabilities, on-the-fly creation of charts, easy report generation, tools to export data to spreadsheets or other documents, printing, and more.
All you need to take advantage of NDP is a Web browser and a connection to the NDP Web site at www.librarynormativedata.info. At this site, you will have subscription-based access to the Normative Database with the ability to query and report from the Database, as well as enjoy access to:
• Normative data analysis reporting on a national level
• Case studies from real-world library projects
• Articles from industry experts
• List of contributing member libraries with links to their Web sites
You have decisions to make. You need the support of board and government leaders. Why not have access to real-world normative data that can help you in making those decisions and those arguments that will position your institution for the future?
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