How Community Calendar Helped Lola

Lola DeWall is the library director for Pocahontas Public Library. The pandemic transformed the way her library, like many across the country, offered programming. Before March 2020, Pocahontas Public Library offered in-person programming and got by using old methods of tracking attendance like hand tallying on paper. That method of tracking program attendance was already arduous and time consuming, and with all of the upheaval the pandemic caused, it quickly became very difficult to keep up. 

Lola kept track of all her library programs on paper, which meant she had to hand tally each participant for each program on a piece of paper. Then, she went back and added up all of the participants for each group of programs, like children’s story time or adult programs, and kept all of the pieces of paper stored in a file. Since everything was done by hand with pen and paper, she had to create her own categories for the programs her library was offering and then group things by these categories. This was a time consuming and tedious task that took time away from other big picture projects.  

One major drawback of the hand tallying paper method (other than it takes so much time) is that there is no way to see historical trends, helpful graphs or a way to organize numbers. She knew this old method wasn’t going to work for them and she needed a new solution, fast. 

The Right Solution at the Right Time 

Lola had been using the WhoFi WiFi analytics program that her state provided to its libraries, and a new feature recently became available that showed her a simpler way to track programs. It was the solution she was looking for and she took advantage of the feature right away.

Community Calendar is an all-in-one library program planner that streamlines program calendars and makes it easy to report program attendance for the Public Library Survey. Community Calendar is designed to help libraries plan and monitor both their online and in-person programming attendance.  It is also used to help grow the community and increase patron engagement by making programming more visible.

She started to use the Community Calendar feature at her library to help plan, manage and track program attendance. Since the Community Calendar already has every category and program type needed for the PLS report, all Lola needed to do was count attendance and enter the total number into the specific program within the dashboard. That’s it!  Counting, reporting, and organizing the programs was already done for her. 

Easy Integration and Happy Partners

Lola loves that Community Calendar has preset categories that match what’s required for the PLS survey. It’s so simple and easy and saves her tons of time. Not to mention she can be sure she has accurate data for the PLS report and for internal planning purposes. 

She loves how simple and easy it is to use and that the WhoFi programs constantly adapt to what libraries need based on feedback. She’s even told other libraries in her area about it! 

COVID Created a Problem That Needed a Good Solution

Librarians adapted their programs to the new normal, which was finding connections online, rather than in-person. They found ways to translate their in-person programs to the digital space to keep patrons engaged, offer support, and maintain their community connections while following COVID safety protocols. 

And it worked!

The evergreen ingenuity and adaptability of libraries and swift response to community needs created new challenges with online and in-person program planning and attendance tracking. Library programming was changing fast, and there wasn’t an efficient or effective way to track online or outdoor programs. They needed a solution, and now there is one in Community Calendar.

The biggest benefit of Community Calendar is that it gives you back more time, assures accurate reporting, and fits exactly with what you need to fill out the PLS survey.

If this sounds like something that you think can help your library, schedule a demo today and see how your library can benefit from Community Calendar.