February 1, 2022
It goes without saying that the past two years have been challenging in many ways. One of which has been the continually changing health policies and recommendations that have made many of us wary of making trips outside our routine stops like work and the grocery store. At the Library, we expected many folks would feel this way and that usage of our services would ebb and flow with those changes.
Last spring, as more people were starting to get out and about, we expected digital and download services to decrease from 2020, as some people returned to checking out hard copies. But here’s the first surprising bit of information: customers borrowed 3.8 million digital items in 2021! That is a six percent increase from 2020. The 3.8 million items made MCPL the 10th largest customer of OverDrive Digital Downloads for download media, right behind giant libraries like New York Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library.
Did the pandemic change how people used libraries forever and eliminate physical services? No. As MCPL slowly brought back in-person services, such as the public computers and collaboration rooms, customers came back (and borrowed a few books along the way). In fact, December 2021 was a record-breaking month, with the most transactions of any December in over 10 years! We saw a 25 percent increase in total activity over last year. December 2021 returned us to pre-pandemic levels of activities and set an all-time record compared to any other recent December!
Is there something special about MCPL and how we are bouncing back from 2020? I think so, but we don’t have all the data just yet. We compare ourselves to many peer libraries. Compared to this time last year, 40 percent of households in our district had active accounts. That’s five points more than a year ago and may be 15 points more than our peers. In addition, people seem to be happy with their service. For many businesses, customer satisfaction, service, and loyalty are measured by something called a net promotor score (NPS). MCPL’s score is up to 90.3. For reference, Amazon’s NPS is 69 and Chick-Fil-A’s NPS is 71.
All these statistics might not mean much to the average Library customer, but to Library staff, they are important metrics that we monitor closely to make sure we’re on the right track and providing the services our customers need and want. Our goal is to make sure the Library is a valuable resource for every member of the community, and these numbers are one of many ways we track that.
So, while our world looks different today than it did yesterday (and possibly very different from tomorrow!), it’s reassuring to see that customers continue to use our services no matter the circumstances. On behalf of everyone at MCPL, I want to thank you for trusting us, letting us serve you, and for using your library…in a record setting-way!
Steven V. Potter
MCPL Director & CEO
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