A Tale of Two Counters
For the past 18 years, since the newer part of Duane G. Meyer Library building opened, we have used a security gate at the top of the interior ramp up to the main level to count the number of visitors. We always knew it was under-reporting the total number of visitors to the building, because some people enter Meyer Library and use the lobby, 101, Outtakes, the vending machines, the restrooms off the lobby, and even the Open Access Computing Lab without ever passing through the security gate. That gate, however, was the only measuring point we had to gather and report statistics about traffic in the building.
Last year that changed, when we installed new people counting devices at both the main entrance to the building, close to the fountain, as well as the “northwest” entrance that leads to the north side of Glass Hall and the northwest part of campus.
Thanks to some statistical analyses performed by Joshua Lambert, we now have a much better estimate of how many people actually visit Meyer Library. Of every 100 people who enter the building, only 81 make it to the security gate at the top of the interior ramp. In other words, approximately one out of every five people who enter the building use parts of it — the lobby, 101, etc. — without ever passing through the security gate at the top of the interior ramp.
For example, in FY18 the counter in the security gate at the top of the interior ramp indicated that 641,026 passed through that gate. Now, thanks to this analysis by Joshua Lambert, we can retrospectively estimate that in FY18 over 800,000 people actually entered the Duane G. Meyer Library building. Dean Peters often tells groups that approximately 750,000 people enter the library annually. Now his ballpark estimate has been revised upwards to 800,000 — pre-pandemic.