Visualization of the usage of Burling Library, day by day, for the year 2019

Library

The Libraries track many usage metrics to help us manage our resources and collections. Knowing which books, journals, and databases Grinnell students, faculty, and staff consult most frequently help us make smart choices about how to spend our budget. But did you know that we also track the usage of our physical spaces? If you’ve ever been studying in Burling and seen a library student worker walking from floor to floor entering information into an iPad, they were counting how many people were in Burling at that time.

The image below is a visualization of that data, day by day, for the 2019 calendar year. Notice how busy Burling is on Sundays and during finals weeks, and how comparatively empty it is over the summer and during breaks!

Visualization of the usage of Burling Library, day by day, for the year 2019

(Download a screen-reader-friendly, non-visualized version of the 2019 data.)

The corresponding image for 2020 shows just how quickly the pandemic impacted life at Grinnell. Burling had its usual level of traffic on Sunday, March 7, which would normally have been the beginning of a busy midsems week. By the end of that week, traffic in the library had dropped to summer levels, and by the next week Burling had closed for what turned out to be the rest of the year.

Visualization of the usage of Burling Library, day by day, for the year 2020

(Download a screen-reader-friendly, non-visualized version of the 2020 data.)

Visualizations created by the Suma software, which was developed by the North Carolina State University Libraries.

Want to know more about this data? Contact Julia Bauder.

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