School libraries and public libraries join forces to buy Cicero Explore

The Municipality of Mariagerfjord is the first local authority in Denmark to buy the business intelligence (BI) solution Cicero Explore, which gives libraries a clearer overview of all their data.

07 January 2020

While the public libraries in the municipality will primarily use the system to buy the right materials, the school libraries are hoping to use Cicero Explore to focus on the important work they perform.   

The Municipality of Mariagerfjord is the first local authority in Denmark to buy the software solution Cicero Explore, which makes it easier for library employees to access and get an overview of library data. Cicero Explore gives librarians and other employees access to figures and statistics on book purchases, book stocks and book lending simply by pressing a single key on the keyboard.

The school libraries and the public libraries have chosen to buy Cicero Explore together. The collaboration happened after Dorte Louise Hansen, one of the municipality’s school consultants, attended the Cicero user day at DOKK 1 in Aarhus in September 2019. At the user day, she learned about the advantages of using Cicero Explore for navigating in library data.

“Cicero Explore’s graphic presentation is fast and clear. The information on how the various data relate to one another can be pretty complex, but if it can be displayed in a pie or bar chart, then it’s much easier to understand. And this is the case even if you don’t possess relevant in-depth knowledge,” says Dorte Louise Hansen about the product.

Following the user day, Dorte Louise Hansen contacted the public libraries in the Municipality of Mariagerfjord to find out about the possibilities of buying Cicero Explore. All the libraries using Systematic’s library system Cicero have been able to access Cicero Explore for a trial period, and they were therefore already familiar with the program when Dorte contacted them.

By comparing data from Cicero Explore with data from elsewhere in the municipality, we can focus on the importance of school librarians for children’s desire and ability to read

“We’ve basically been using Cicero Explore ever since it landed,” explains Mette Secher Hede, who runs the public libraries in the Municipality of Mariagerfjord. “It’s important for us that we are demand-driven, and able to keep an eye on what is being lent out, and what is not being borrowed. As far as I can see, Cicero Explore provides the easiest way of doing this. In Cicero Explore, we can see whether some categories are not doing particularly well, and then we can quickly make a downward adjustment. On the other hand, we can buy more books in those categories where we can see that book loans are on the rise.”


“Feelings seldom hold much sway”

Dorte Louise Hansen agrees with Mette Secher Hede that Cicero Explore is an effective tool for keeping a close eye on book lending trends and for buying the right materials. However, she primarily plans to use Cicero Explore to shed light on the important work performed by school librarians.

“If I become good at comparing data from Cicero Explore with data from elsewhere in the municipality, we can use this to focus on the importance of school librarians for children’s desire and ability to read. I’m very much aware that it’s not possible to draw unequivocal conclusions from, for example, comparing the manning at educational learning centres with children’s reading results, but it can make you curious about and aware of the connections you do observe.”

“Without tangible data, our arguments are based on feelings, and feelings seldom hold much sway,” she says.

Even though the public libraries and the school libraries have different plans for how they will use Cicero Explore, they quickly agreed to buy the product when the trial period expired. Dorte Louise Hansen and Mette Secher Hede both point out that in the Municipality of Mariagerfjord, they are used to intra-departmental collaboration and consultation, and therefore it was obvious that they should make the most of the advantages to be had from buying the product together. Another factor was that the Cicero Explore function was greatly missed after the end of the trial period.

As Mette Secher Hede puts it succinctly, referring to the key which you press to access the Cicero Explores reports: “We really missed F8. It was awful not having anything there at all when I pressed the key.”

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