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5 Ways to Track Student Activity in the Library

Computer with blank screen monitor on table in interior school library

How do you know who’s been to the library? If they didn’t check anything out, do you know they were still there? Do you have to prove your library is being used to justify spending?

There are many reasons why a school or library may want to record student activity. So we’ve compiled a few methods you could try out!

1. Operator

You or one of your library staff—or, get a volunteer student or parent!—could mark library visits. Either write down names or use a simple clicker to keep track of the number of people as they come in. That sounds like fun. Honestly, who wants to do this.

2. Sign-in sheet

The oldest trick in the book is an anathema today. But you can still do it! Place a sheet on a nice heavy clipboard so it doesn’t get shifted around, and provide a cup for pens labeled “Clean” and a cup for pens labeled “Used.” Someone will need to occasionally clean the pens and restock the “Clean” cup. And don’t forget to label the sheet with today’s date and replace it every day. I hope you aren’t counting these by hand later.
Print out this simple sheet for signing students into the library.

3. Chat

Whaaaaat? Unconventional, yes—but hear me out. If multiple people need to be alerted to what’s happening NOW, and don’t need a record of it later, you could do something as simple as setting up a scanner and mobile device with a chat program. Students scan their barcodes into the chat feed, where everyone who needs to monitor can see the sign-ins.
Tip: If you have software that does text replacements, you could set up one for every student, so it replaces their barcode with their barcode + name!

4. Spreadsheet

Scan barcodes into a spreadsheet! Use a Google spreadsheet if multiple people need access, and bookmark it. When it comes to formatting, add a column for barcodes. For dates, you could have separate columns for each date, or set up a column with smart cells that will insert the date/time when there is a scan.

Here are some smart spreadsheet ideas from Heather Price, who is a Teacher Librarian at Skyridge High School (Alpine School District):

  • Create a second tab in your spreadsheet that pairs barcodes and names. Then, on the tab where you’re recording sign-ins, you could set up a name column that automatically fills when patrons scan their barcodes.
  • Don’t want barcodes to show? Make the barcode column white text. Tip: To show it’s been scanned, put conditional formatting for a fill color.
You can set something very complicated or very simple. Then the spreadsheet is available later for searching, and simple count functions can show you how many people signed in per day.

5. Software

If there are tools, use them! Alexandria’s Activity kiosk records sign-ins for any location or event. Use Interactive mode if you want students to record the specific reason they are at the library, or use Express mode to get simple counts and process a lot of patrons in a short amount of time.

The best thing about Express Mode is that it’s an easy hands-free solution. Set up a kiosk just outside or inside your library with a scanner on a stand. Then students can simply hold their library cards under the scanner to record their visit. It even lets them know if they have holds to pick up!

Customize the colors with Styles, run reports to view data, and more! Learn more about Activity.

Activity is an optional Alexandria integration. Contact our Sales Team if you are interested in adding it to your library!

Do you track activity in your library? If so, what is the data used for? Let us know in the comment section below!

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