A wireless people counter installed at Aldrich Library by the library division of Intrepid Security is providing valuable data which will help identify peaks and troughs in library traffic and influence decisions about possible changes in opening hours.
The Aldrich Library which is part of the University of Brighton and is the biggest of its six libraries holds a collection of over 210,000 items to support the University’s teaching and research interests. These include books, journals, videotapes and DVDs, covering a diverse range of subjects including architecture, management, environmental sciences, biological sciences, computing and engineering.
The library has used a people counter ever since it moved into its present building thirteen years ago. “Our old people counter was well past its “use-by” date,” said Lyn Turpin, Information Services Manager of the Aldrich Library. “It was hard-wired to a PC which was using a DOS operating system and was very limited in terms of the reports it could generate. But it still took some detailed research to find a computer-based people counter that had the ease of use and flexibility that we sought.”
Intrepid Library recommended a battery operated wireless people counter which is supplied with a sophisticated software programme able to produce customised reports to match the Aldrich Library’s specific requirements. Located at the main entrance to the library, it can report on how many people enter and leave and at what times. As such it can identify patterns of use and by doing so help the library to better understand the demands on its services.
Lyn quotes an example of where the people counter has been particularly useful: “We have recently experimented with extended vacation opening hours. The new people counter has allowed us to analyse the volume of traffic during the additional hours and provided hard evidence to back up our gut feeling that the library was much busier.”
The library is now considering adding an additional people counter to their night entrance. If they do, the cost will be minimised by the fact that the additional unit can work with the same PC as the main entrance unit (despite being on different floors) and with no extra software required.