Origin of NCknows questions in NC

A lot of people in Mecklenburg county, that’s who.

I was taking another look at the zipcode data from the NCknows pilot recently. I had already looked at percentages in the stats reports: approximately 75% from within NC, 5% from other states, 20% anonymous. (Conclusion: NCknows is primarily serving North Carolinians, with a fairly minor investment in serving non-North Carolinians.) But I recently had the thought to ask our GIS librarian to make some maps from the zipcode data.

Amanda Henley is the GIS librarian in Davis, and made the really fabulous maps here. These are only 2 of several maps that she made for me, but for my money these are the coolest of the bunch. I apologize that they’re small and probably illegible here. If you click on the images you’ll get the full, massive versions.

In the NC map, the dots are the locations of the libraries that participated in the NCknows pilot. It’s interesting to me to see the correlation between the locations of these libraries & the origin of questions to the service. In the evaluation, we didn’t look at the marketing efforts that the participating libraries had launched (and NCknows hadn’t yet launched anything centralized), but I’d bet there’s a correlation between marketing and question volume.

Origin of NCknows questions in US

Amanda also made a map of NC broken down by zipcode instead of by county, and you can see something that I think is really interesting: in Wake & even more so in Mecklenburg, the libraries are downtown but the questions are coming from the suburbs. I don’t know much about the demographics of those areas but I’m sure there’s something socio-economically interesting going on there.

And also I just really dig GIS. I probably missed my calling as a map librarian. But what a powerful way this could be to demonstrate the statewide reach of the NCknows service! After all, 18 libraries handled questions from 80 counties. As I continue to rant about the need for more marketing & PR by libraries.