Public Library WiFi Usage Prior 12 Months

Public Library WiFi Usage Insights Q3 2022

Sustained growth has been an ongoing theme in 2022 and the third quarter proved to be no exception with an 8% increase in public library WiFi usage compared with the prior quarter. Looking at data from the Summer there seem to be some interesting trends emerging compared to last year. Particularly the change among certain service population ranges. Reviewing usage trends we have identified fluctuations in usage relevant to library service offerings and how patrons will interact with libraries in the future.

Library Internet Usage Quarterly Comparison

As the world faces a "new normal" there are some activities that have clearly changed since before the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the time and manner in which patrons use the library services. Libraries have expanded their WiFi offerings to provide their communities 24/7 access, stronger signal, and even extended range for patrons outside of the library proper in nearby outdoor spaces. Regardless of the cause it is clear that patrons are making sustained use of libraries’ WiFi offerings.

Compared with the third quarter of 2021 WiFi usage has increased dramatically by 94% this quarter as can be seen on the right.

 

Q3 WiFi Usage Year-to-Date

Sustaining Growth in WiFi Usage Year-Over-Year

Digging deeper into the growth we can see over the past quarters just how much public library WiFi usage has grown. Compared with year-to-date usage in the third quarter of 2021, the third quarter of 2022 saw usage increased by 105% more than doubling last year's activity. This metric is exciting to see as it further indicates the importance of the free WiFi for community spaces in the digital age. Patrons use public library WiFi at increasing rates indicating this metric will continue to be important to keep up with for advocacy purposes.

 

Weekly WiFi Usage by Population Size

Over the course of the quarter, weekly WiFi usage remained fairly consistent over time with a few notable exceptions. The weeks of the Fourth of July and Memorial Day experienced small dips in usage as in years previous as you can seen on the right. June and July saw nearly identical WiFi usage rates and resumed the typical seasonal increase in usage through August and into September. While there was variance in growth among the service population  ranges each group had an overall increase in the third quarter.

Q3 Weekly WiFi Usage By Service PopulationMonthly Change in Library Internet Usage

 

 

October 2021 to September 2022 Results 

As we approach the new baseline of patron utilization referenced in previous reports, libraries continue to set post-pandemic records for WiFi usage every month. Every month since March 2022 has had greater usage than October 2021, the highest usage month for that year. We are seeing less and less unattributed change as we grow closer to the new baseline. This means libraries have an opportunity to measure the impact of the changes they are making without skewed results due to the pandemic.

What does this mean for these libraries and how can they best serve their community going forward? 

We will keep an eye out this Winter to note any non-seasonal trends in usage. It is clear from the data that patrons continue to utilize library WiFi in greater numbers. This valuable community resource is important now more than ever in a post-pandemic society. This is due in part to new remote workers and distance education learners. Advocating for these patrons will be critical for libraries to thrive in the digital age.

 

 

Library Internet Usage Quarterly Comparison

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Library Program Seating

5 Reasons To Use Registration for Your Next Library Program

One key element of a successful library program is registration for patrons. While collection methods may vary, the best registration processes can result in more successful programs with more engaged guests. In fact in an article from Science & Technology Libraries researchers found that, "customized communication is at the root of successful library programming". Here are just a few points in the planning process that easy registration could improve programs & events at the library:

Library Program Registration Benefits

1. Visibility for Library Patrons

You’ve got lots of exciting library programs coming up at the library but you are concerned you may not reach as many as you could. Keeping events visible for patrons and offering registration ensures that everyone who wants to attend can register. While having registration available at the library or over the phone is great it could bog down staff for larger programs and preclude some patrons from registering. Offering registration online is one way to ensure visibility for patrons even when they are not at the library and save staff time filling out forms.

2. Limited Seating & Space

The next program at your library could be an art class requiring plenty of natural light and space for easels. Concurrently, you may need to find space and seating for a larger group gathering to hear a guest speaker. Not all programs are made the same or require the same amount of space.  Placing smaller groups in smaller rooms while reserving larger spaces for larger groups is critical for their success. Only have space for 10 people in the smaller room? Set the Registration limit to 10, and any extra guests can go on the waitlist in the meantime! Registration makes this process simple by giving program coordinators options to reserve the right space.

3. Program Materials Preparation

Keeping every program supplied with the right materials is another way that registration can keep events running smoothly. Running out of prizes for Summer reading programs or ingredients for cooking class could hurt a program’s success. Overspending on materials that go unused can be limited by knowing how many people will be in attendance up front. 

4. Registered Patron Reminders

Life happens and sometimes patrons forget about an upcoming library event that they'd like to attend.  One way to help prevent library programs from falling through the calendar cracks is by reminding patrons about them. It would be a tedious process to give everyone a call or email personally. A simple automatic reminder email can help boost attendance without adding additional work to program coordinators’ plates.  For libraries using WhoFi, when patrons register for events, they always receive a reminder e-mail 24 hours before the event starts.

5. Standardized Record Keeping

Libraries have one step left after a program has run its course, reporting! Without registration library staff would have to rely on visual counts during the events recorded on either paper, spreadsheets, or some combination of the two. Libraries are great at storing records safely, but they still have to review them later to get totals for state questions. By collecting registration in advance, reporting processes are sped up and simplified by getting the right fields completed in advance. 

 

Partner libraries brought up registration as a key issue on the subject of programs and community events. In an effort to reduce the burden felt by library staff and enhance patron experience, registration has been added to WhoFi’s existing Community Calendar tool. If you would like to learn more about Community Calendar and how WhoFi can help improve your library program registration processes, please get in touch!

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