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Statistics: So much potential…

I know I’m not the first librarian to wonder “just what can I quantify and graph that will come close to representing what I do in a day?”

Currently, as far as I know, the public services in our library collect statistics in many forms: usage statistics from most of our online databases, gate counts periodically throughout the school year, circulation statistics, number of questions answered every hour of every day at the reference desk, number and location of people in the reference area at different times in the day, number of classes taught and how many students we reach through those classes, and number and length of individual appointments and correspondences we have with students and faculty. These can all be graphed quite nicely.

Now here’s the rub: these things don’t actually measure the impact we’re having on our community. Unfortunately, “impact” is kind of subjective, and can often happen in unforeseen and invisible ways. So I’m lost. I’m having statistician’s block, I guess.

Besides, it’s too beautiful outside to think about statistics. I can’t believe I just wrote a whole post while sitting on my porch! I love spring.