The Customer Focused Library
Metropolitan Library System, in partnership with four member libraries, wrote an LSTA grant to bring in a nationally recognized retail space consulting firm to help understand the changing needs of library patrons. Four libraries in the Chicago area, three public and one academic, were studied for two days each, utilizing a combination of observation, interviews and video.
Researchers used mapping programs to track and time patrons’ movements and interactions within the library, library patrons were given an exit survey to discover their experience in the library and what services they use, and small video cameras were installed in key areas of the libraries in order to capture behavioral patterns, traffic flow, and wait and transaction times.
The purpose of The Customer Focused Library project was three-fold:
- To gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative information about the customer experience in the grant partner libraries using evaluation practices from retail.
- To derive best practices from the information gathered.
- To share those best practices widely through the Metropolitan Library System, the state of Illinois, and the library community as a whole.
Envirosell, a leading research and consulting agency for commercial environments that integrates the analysis of layout, merchandising, and operations, conducted a study at the four partner libraries. Each partner library was selected for its diversity of size and user population. Results from the study were presented at a workshop at the Metropolitan Library System on April 29, 2008. Library Directors from the four partner libraries presented their best practices and implementation plans at a workshop on July 22, 2008.
Grant Presentations and Best Practices
- Envirosell Final Presentation
- Envirosell Final Report
- Best Practices for the Customer Focused Library - Final Best Practices developed from Envirosell's and the grant team's recommendations.
- WebJunction Webinar on the Customer Focused Library Study
- Research Methods Toolkit