Who's Out There? The Power of Spatial Data

Library communities today are not just melting pots, they are roiling stews of people moving in and moving out.  Sometimes it seems like our communities are changing almost as fast as technology! So how do we get a handle on serving that dynamic community? How can we identify the services they need if we don’t really know who they are?

The good news is that there is data and expertise out there to help a library understand more about the people living in the shifting neighborhoods that make up their service area. Using data in the library system combined with census data, and other spatial data, a library can learn who is and who is not using the library. They can identify areas of growth and plan for a new library and they can learn who lives in that growing area to ensure the collection and services reflect their needs. https://digitalcommons.du.edu/do/search/?q=author_lname%3A%22Ayre%22%20author_fname%3A%22Lori%22&start=0&context=7293930&facet=

Environmental and Organizational Assessment and Strategic Planning Consultation

PaILS is a consortium in Pennsylvania which provides a shared Evergreen system for 37 library systems across the state.  The engagement included:

  • assessing existing services and operations
  • re-evaluating the PaILS Mission Statement
  • reformulating the PaILS Vision Statement
  • identifying strategic priorities and developing activities to support them
  • developing a plan to address challenges related to the need for stable funding for the disparate needs of a diverse group of libraries
  • developing cost share formula that more accurately reflects current environment and supports sustainability

This work was led by Lori Bowen Ayre with Galecia Associates Lucien Kress and Sam McBane Mulford.  The final deliverables included a recommendations document which served as the basis for a Strategic Plan which the consortium adopted.  We then worked with them to develop a formal Strategic Plan used to guide the organization over the next 3-5 years.

Environmental and Organizational Assessment and Strategic Planning Consultation

The Galecia Group has been working with NC Cardinal since May 2016.  NC Cardinal is a consortium in North Carolina which provides a shared Evergreen system for 31 library systems across the state.  The engagement includes:

  • assessing existing services and operations
  • identifying emerging needs and aspirations of shareholders, and
  • creating a 5-year strategic plan to grow the system, enhance the services, and define a sustainable funding model

The final deliverable was a recommendations document and a planning document that was developed during a one-day workshop with the NC Cardinal Board.  It included a calendar of prioritized activities to pursue over the next 3-5 years with assigned owners for each activity.

This engagement was led by Lori Bowen Ayre with Galecia Associates Lucien Kress and Sam McBane Mulford.  

Get Your Spatial Data On!

There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate in libraries today.  Everything is changing very fast including everything related to the Internet, what we mean by “phones”, user expectations of customer service and discovery, DRM, funding levels, the increasingly long list of devices  and technology that people use to create things, and the composition of our communities. 

One of the things changing almost as fast as technology is our communities.  Many communities are not just melting pots, they are roiling stews of people moving in and moving out with some communities getting older while others seem to maintain a permanently younger set.  As people flee their countries of origin due to climate change, violence, or just to pursue opportunities, what were once static  communities change and morph to accommodate the new arrivals with new cultures, practices, foods, and religions.  

The good news is that there is data out there to help a library understand these migration patterns and to help the library understand more about the people living in the various neighborhoods within their service area. Using data in the library system combined with census data, and other spatial data, a library can learn who is and who is not using the library. They can identify areas of growth and plan for a new library and they can learn who lives in that growing area to ensure the collection and services reflect their needs.