How Lisa Used Data To Advocate For Her Library And Secure Grant Money

Lisa Johnson is the director of the Orange City Public Library. Like many library directors across the country, she adapted the library services when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and libraries closed their doors to the public. What became the new normal brought about new patron behaviors. She noticed patrons would often sit outside on the ground, on a ledge or in their cars to use the library WiFi.

This trend continued as the months went on. With more people needing the library’s WiFi services, Lisa knew something needed to change. 

WiFi Analytics Helped Lisa Secure Funding for Library Improvements

Lisa used the WhoFi WiFi analytics system that her state purchased for libraries to identify usage trends and determine when patrons were using the library WiFi. She discovered from the WiFi analytics data that people were using the library WiFi after hours, for extended periods of time, so she made sure the WiFi was on 24/7. 

Even though library doors were closed, Lisa wanted to make sure that need was met, so she used the WhoFi data to secure $5,000 in grant money. She used the grant to improve the outdoor space and strengthen the WiFi signal. 

With the grant money, the library created a nice outdoor space with benches so patrons could sit comfortably and use the library’s WiFi or attend outdoor programming. Old window ledges were fixed up to create additional seating, too. Because Lisa paid attention to the changing patron behavior she was able to use the WhoFi WiFi analytics data to help her get resources to meet the community’s needs. And it’s paying off! Lisa says the outdoor space is frequently busy, the WiFi usage is high, and the new outdoor space looks fantastic. 

Having easy access to the WiFi data and information made it easy for Lisa to write the grant to secure funding for her library. 

A New Program Tracking Tool Gives Lisa Back Valuable Time and Ensures Accurate Reporting for the PLS Survey

In addition to the change in the way libraries offer services, there was a change in the way programs are offered, too. With limited or no indoor programming available, libraries moved programs outdoors, online or both. This presented a new challenge on many levels, but one in particular was that there was not a good way to track program attendance with this new model. A hodgepodge of hand-tallying on paper and spreadsheets wasn’t cutting it. 

Lisa was trying to come up with a better way to track and understand the library’s programs, which was no easy feat! With the various categories, schedules, and fluctuating attendance, old methods of hand-tallying or spreadsheets are cumbersome and inefficient. Then when Community Calendar was released to select states, Lisa jumped on the chance to implement this feature at her library. 

Community Calendar was the right tool at the right time for Orange City Public Library. 

Community Calendar is a reporting tool to help libraries understand their programming and better serve the community. An easy-to-use system to schedule programs and view insights – all in one place. This tool makes it easy to schedule, manage, and count attendance at all programs and events.

Lisa said that before she used Community Calendar, it took a full 40 hour work week to complete the state report. Now, she completes it in a day. 

Everything is so much easier, too. Community Calendar gives libraries the tools to provide answers about in-person and online programs, defines clear categories for programs to create consistent reporting, auto-generates reports for easy end-of-year reporting, and eliminates the need for hand-tallying or complicated spreadsheets. 

No more shuffling papers.

No more hand-tallying.

No more confusing spreadsheets.

If this sounds like something that you think can help your library, like it helped Lisa, schedule a demo today to learn how your library can benefit from Community Calendar. 

About WhoFi

WhoFi provides libraries with wireless session counts, for advocacy, operational improvements related to the patron experience, and for the annual PLS and state surveys. To learn more about how libraries can use WiFi insights to improve patron services, schedule a demo to see how it all works.