This article seeks to demonstrate a technique for using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to analyze US Census data to better understand potential library users and improve library service planning.
A GIS was used to link variables such as age, race, income, and education from the 2000 US Census with service area maps of two proposed branch libraries. Thematic maps were created for each of the census variables to display demographic information about potential library users within a three‐mile radius of the proposed libraries.
The GIS maps and their associated attribute data enhanced the ability to analyze and compare the demographics of potential users in the two library areas and identify significant differences. The data on age, race, education and income for residents in the two areas were combined with known library use indicators to help plan library services with the potential to attract different populations in the local community.
Provides practical information about downloading US Census data into a GIS to be able to present demographic data about potential library users both visually and quantitatively.
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