Our circulation mapping service uses data from your library's circulation system to generate maps which you can use to understand and explain how your library serves the communities within its service area. A wide variety of maps and options are available, meaning that the resulting product will be individually tailored to your needs.
These maps are powerful and intuitive tools. The color coding of borrowing activity ensures that the maps are easy to read and accesible to those familiar with the community.
Warm colors - like red - represent areas of high use. Cool colors - such as blue - appear in areas of low use. This color spectrum provides a continuum of usage levels throughout each map.
The resulting maps provide an immediate understanding of how communites are using the library. The viewer will see communities highlighted with the colors representing their use levels. They will see the geographic reach of each library, enabling them to understand which communities are served by each library.
We have worked with libraries using circulation systems from many vendors, including Dynix, Innovative Interfaces, CARL, Sirsi, DRA, and even homegrown systems. There is no hardware or software investment, and your staff won't need to learn complicated Geographic Information System (GIS) software.
The following is a list and description of many of the typical maps we produce for our customers.
Basic Mapping Package
Systemwide Cardholder Map
The systemwide cardholder map shows how your cardholders are distributed throughout your service areas. It is important to understand this penetration level, because without a library card, people are much less likely to use the library. After identifying areas of low cardholdership you may, for example, begin working through the schools, to increase those levels.
Systemwide Borrower Map
The systemwide borrower map shows all borrowing activity throughout the system. This comprehensive map allows the library to identify the level of actual borrowing activity in the communities throughout the service area.
Branch Borrower Maps
Whereas the systemwide borrower map shows an overview of all borrowers, the branch borrower maps break down that activity branch-by-branch. Individual maps are prepared for each branch and your central library, each showing only borrowing activity from that location.
The result is a hard-data visualization of the actual reach and activity level for the individual libraries. The viewer can see which of the surrounding communities use the library, and which don't make use of the facility.
People do not always visit the branch closest to their home. It is interesting to see how users may bypass a closer branch to patronize a different location. Travel patterns, proximity to destinations such as shopping centers, material selection, historical habit, and physical barriers such as rivers or freeways all contribute to library selection.
Additional Maps and Products
Market Area Maps
Market area maps go one step beyond the branch borrower maps. Your entire service area is divided into census block groups, each consisting of 600 to 3,000 people. Each library then 'competes for territory' with your other libraries. Block groups are mathematically assigned to market areas based on actual circulation statistics.
The result of this process is a set of well-defined market areas, each comprising the neighborhoods actually served by the branch rather than an area which planners expected the library to serve. In the past, many have simply drawn a circle with a radius of perhaps three-miles, and declared that the circle represented the area served by the branch. In truth, market areas are not symmetrical. A branch may serve communities for five miles in one direction, yet only those one mile away in another direction. With our market area maps, you will have concrete evidence of the areas served from each location.
A map showing your service area's underserved regions is also produced. This map highlights those block groups with the lowest per-capita borrowing activity.
Market Area Demographic Profiles
Market area demographic profiles arm you with hard statistical facts describing your libraries' market areas and your service area as a whole. A series of tables provide a comprehensive set of statistical characteristics for each library in your system.
These profiles can be used in the development of service response plans.
The standard set of tables contain nearly one hundred statistical traits for each market area, including breakdowns for age, race, language, education, employment, housing, and more.
Demographic maps provide a thematic representation of various demographic characteristics throughout a library system's service area. These maps can be produced on a variety of levels, including ZIP Code, census tract, block group, or block level.