College Library sharing how busy it is in real time

April 27, 2023

Just in time for finals, UW-Libraries is testing a new service at College Library that communicates how busy library spaces are, so students can make informed decisions about where to study. The four largest study areas in the library are included in this test.

This information about room occupancy is available online at,
or in the Waitz app, downloadable on iOS and Android. This information will also be on display as you enter College Library.

Visitors to College Library can check to see which rooms have the most availability. Or use the app before leaving home to see if the library is too busy in case they want to consider other study locations.

The web page also provides expectations about how busy the library will be later in the day.

This is a pilot program, intended to test the accuracy of the service and the usefulness of this information to students. Is this useful to you? What other rooms or libraries should offer this? Let us know!

How does this work and what about privacy?

Sensors are placed around the library that count wireless and Bluetooth devices in the area and then estimate how many people are in the space based on the number of devices in the space. The sensors do not save, log, or transfer the unique addresses of the devices, nor do they ever monitor what devices are doing. No personal information is ever gathered, transmitted, or saved.