Don’t show these great statistics to your patrons

Last week Stephen Abram posted these info-graphics about libraries from OCLC:



As Stephen said,  “we big”. These numbers are wonderful and impressive. But please, don’t show them as is to your patrons.

Take off your librarian hat and be a patron for a moment. What is a “transaction” in a library? One book checked out? One person checking out several items at once? Is asking where the bathroom is a transaction? Honestly, I’m not sure I know the answer. Never mind the difference between a “transaction” and a “back-office transaction”.

What’s an OPAC? Isn’t an OPAC a database?  Are those “Database searches” included in the number of “OPAC searches” or are they separate?

Maybe we as librarians know what all this means (and I’m not even sure we can with these numbers being posted out of context,) but just a bunch of large numbers won’t do you any good unless those reading the numbers actually understand them.

February 10th, 2010 by