Posts by: Thomas Quinn


Hello there! Next week is Thanksgiving (you might have heard of it). The Hirsh Library is going to be going on a bit of a vacation, because we know you are too.

We will be closing on Wednesday, November 25th at 2 pm, and we will re-open on Sunday, November 29th at 10 am (and will be open until 10 pm that day).

If you have any questions, feel free to come ask us on the 4th floor of Sackler, or you can call 617-636-6706. Otherwise, enjoy your short break before exams, and we will see you on the 29th!


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Hi everyone! In honor of Veterans Day (Wednesday, November 11th), Hirsh Health Sciences Library will have shortened hours. We will be open from noon until 7pm. But we’ll see you back on normal hours the rest of the week!

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It’s that time of the year again! From Sunday, October 25th through Saturday, October 31st, Hirsh Library will be running its Affiliation week survey. Huzzah!

What this means for you: 4 times a day (11 am, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm) a person will come around the library and ask what program you are with. You tell them (Med, Dental, Nutrition, etc), and they’ll move on to the next person. Easy peasy. But what if you don’t want to be interrupted?

Well that’s easy enough! You can leave your Tufts ID next to you, and we’ll just glance at that and move on. Or, if you’d rather not leave your ID out, you can just write your program on a piece of paper and leave that next to you.

If you’re with a group in a room and don’t want to be interrupted, you can tape a piece of paper to the outside of the door (but do not cover the glass) with the number of people and what program(s), such as “5 Dental” or “3 Sackler.”

Remember, this is only for the duration of above mentioned week, and then we’ll be done until April. So it’ll be over before you know it!

If you have any questions or concerns, you can come talk to us at the desk on Sackler 4, or call 617-636-6706. We want this to go smoothly and quickly, and for you to be comfortable with it.

We look forward to seeing you next week!

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In honor of Labor Day, Hirsh Health Sciences Library will be open from noon to 7 pm on Monday, September 7th. We will be back to our normal hours on Tuesday, September 8th.

Enjoy your weekend!


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Hello there! I’m glad you can join me today. We’ve been posting a lot of recipes lately, so I thought I’d join in by giving you one on how to make an entire Health Sciences library. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

First thing’s first: this is going to be a bit bigger than we’re used to. That’s because Hirsh is such a popular library, we’ve had to up all the numbers in the recipe!

Now, you’ll want to be fairly liberal with your application of visitors to the library. For instance, this past year, we had 110,084 people come through. That’s nuts (which are also delicious)! Of course, you don’t want to risk the recipe being unbalanced by such a big number, so you will need to balance it out with a lot of circulation, as well. In our case, we balanced it out by having 38,990 checkouts this past year. It’s a 46% jump over what we had the previous year, but it’s been working well!

Incidentally, you’ll want to make sure your recipe includes technology. A lot of technology. In our case, we had 9,417 checkouts of laptops alone (6,440 of which were for just the Macbooks we have!). We also had 5,557 phone charger checkouts, and 3,019 checkouts of Mac chargers. Like I said, our recipe was pretty popular last year, and only got more popular this year!

If you’re a visual person (like me), then this should help: the total circulation by month of the last two years (click to enlarge).




Now what about individual spices, you may ask? Well that’s easy enough. You want to mix in 10,173 Dental students and 12,601 Medical. Bring to a simmer. Then mix in 8,029 Nutrition students and 5,266 from the combined PHPD programs. Bring to a boil, and add a dash of Sackler students – specifically, 569 of them.

Now, put in the oven, and turn the heat up. I’d suggest turning it up to 12 months, but keep an eye on it – not all of these ingredients can go in there for quite the same amount of time. Some need about 9, others can be an intense 6. I suggest occasionally stirring.

When you pull it all out, let it sit and cool off for a few months. I suggest setting it in front of Netflix for the duration of July, just to be sure.

Once it hits September, dig on in, it’s ready to go! But be forewarned: this dish is going to start strong and only get bigger from there.

Happy Eating!


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The Race UndergroundThe Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway is a fascinating look at one of modern society’s most taken-for-granted features: public transit. Specifically, it’s a look at the events and people that helped create the public transit systems that would eventually become New York City’s MTA and Boston’s MBTA. Doug Most’s prose can occasionally veer off the main rail of the story, but always with the purpose of making sure the reader understands the personalities and the politics that formed the United States in the late 1800s.

It’s particularly interesting to see names that have passed into near myth appear on the pages – names like Teddy Roosevelt, Boss Tweed, and Thomas Edison. You can also see the seeds of the 20th century sewn, as others – such as John F Kennedy’s grandfather – show up and either throw their support for a subway in their city or stand in the way and try to block what was seen as a public menace.

Doug Most is very clearly deeply interested in this period in history, and it shows in his prose as he paints the scene of two Northeast cities exploding with populations and scrambling to handle the sudden influx of people. His enthusiasm shines through so clearly that it’s hard not to become drawn in and read quickly in hopes of finding out which city would eventually go on to make history in the US. Which is particularly impressive, given that it is a matter of public record (and pride for that particular city).

Quite frankly, it’s also just fun to see all of this form, and try to match the images presented in the book up against one’s own experience getting around NYC and Boston. Times have changed drastically since these days.

The Race Underground is a great read for the summer (especially when you can find somewhere air conditioned to read it). You can find it in the Tufts Library catalog and order it from Tisch here. Fun fact: it’s a 90 day rental!

Happy Reading!

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Hello everyone! In honor of Independence Day (this Saturday, July 4th), Hirsh Health Sciences Library will be closed from Friday, July 3rd, through Sunday, July 5th. So make sure you get outside, grill something, and watch the fireworks!

We will see you on Monday!



Picture via Tom Quinn


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Hirsh Health Library will be having extended hours for the next two upcoming weekends! This means that on April 25th & 26th, as well as May 2nd & 3rd, the desk on the 4th floor will be open 10am – 10pm, so you can check things out earlier and keep them later!

But wait: there’s more! Sackler will stay open until 2am on both Saturdays – April 25th and May 2nd – so you can stay and study even later.

Oh, and one last thing: FREE COFFEE! On both Sundays – April 26th and May 3rd – there will be free coffee available on Sackler 4 after the cafe closes up at 7 pm.

So there you have it. Longer desk hours, longer building hours, and free coffee. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to swing by the desk or call us at 617-636-6706.

And don’t forget: If you’re free and in Sackler today, we will have therapy puppies from 3 pm – 5 pm in room 507. So drop by and say hi to them as well!

Happy Studying!


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Hello all! As you may recall, the Hirsh Library ran its biannual Affiliation Week survey back in March, which means the time has come for a blog post where I show you some of the numbers, so you can see how your school sized up against the others!

First up: how busy was the library? Well, the short answer is: crazy busy. March was overall just about one of the busiest months we’ve ever had (which is its own story for another day), and that was reflected pretty clearly in our data. For instance:, here’s how busy that week was (in terms of total people in the library):


Crazy, right? We had 793 people in the library on Wednesday, March 25th. It may not be the busiest day we’ve had, but that’s still busy! But really, we’re here to talk about the schools, so try this next chart on for size. It’s the total numbers of people from each school that were counted in Circulation (checking things out) vs Affiliation (when we walked around and asked where you were from):


So, ah…congrats, Dental! You blew everyone away in sheer numbers of people studying in the library. The circulation race was a bit closer, though: Dental was first with 372 checkouts, but Medical was a close second with 327, and Nutrition actually came in at third with 281. Of course, this is a good time to point out that it is not actually a contest between the programs – Hirsh is here to help everyone on our Health Sciences campus, whether they show up in huge numbers in these data sets, or whether we only see a few of their members all month. It is very helpful to know how we’re getting used, though, so here we are.

The final March chart is one of my personal favorites: the by-floor breakdown. This is where we can see how the members of the different programs spread out in the library. This is where you can see the most popular study spaces. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, it’s mainly the 7th floor:


What’s really interesting here is the way it got used, though. Yes, Dental used the heck out of the 7th floor, but once you remove that outlier what you see is…remarkably homogenous. Medical broke almost even between quiet floors on one side and “noisy” floors on the other. If they weren’t on the 7th floor, the Dental students could be almost anywhere else. Sackler students (which, for this survey, includes PA, PHPD, and MBS) were again preferring the 7th, but appeared willing to show up almost anywhere with equal interest. Nutrition preferred the 5th floor, though. Perhaps due to the sheer amount of group-appropriate space on that floor?

This brings us all to the Affiliation Year-In-Review part of this post. As I said, March was crazy busy. How busy, you might ask? Well, compared to October, we had more people in the library:


We checked out more books, laptops, and chargers (especially chargers):


We had more people around to tell us what programs they were from:


And each one of our floors was used more than it had been in October. This final chart suggests that all of the construction on the 6th floor has gone to good use (that’s a jump of 236 people right there – ultimately making the 6th floor busier than the 5th by 9 people), although no matter how many classrooms we build, people will always prefer the quiet of the 7th floor for work and studying:


Thank you for reading! Once all the numbers for this academic year are in this summer, I will be putting together a look back at this past year, which has been busier than we’ve ever been (and perhaps even busier than we were expecting to be). In the meantime, if you’d like a more in-depth discussion of any of the information presented (or if you’re just interested in chatting usage or data in general), feel free to come see me at the Service Desk on Sackler 4 some weeknight! I’m always happy to talk.

Especially after being driven half-blind by Excel’s chart system.


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Hello everyone! Next week, the Hirsh Health Sciences Library will be doing its semi-annual Affiliation Week Survey. What this means for you is that 4 times a day, a staff member will come around and ask every person in the library what school they’re affiliated with (Medical, Dental, Sackler, Friedman, etc). We are not asking for any identifying information, just school affiliation. In fact, this is the entire Affiliation Survey that we use:

Affiliation Survey

We do this semi-annually so we can make sure we have the best data about our user base, which lets us allocate resources appropriately to best serve all of the patrons on the Health Sciences campus.

You have a couple options for a response: you can always actually tell us (and we’re always happy to talk to you!). However, if you prefer to not speak, you’re welcome to leave your ID next to you while you study, or you can grab a piece of scrap paper from either the 4th or 5th floor desk, and write it down there. If you choose to do that, please make sure the ID or scrap paper is out in the open next to you. If you’re in a group study room with a group, you can write how many members of what schools are represented in the room, and tape it to the outside of the study room door (example: “5 Medical, 3 Dental, 1 Nutrition”).

Just please remember to take down any signs you put up, and to remove any IDs or papers you put on the desks by you.

If you have any questions or concerns at all, don’t hesitate to ask us! You can call us at 617-636-6706, e-mail us at, visit our live chat on the Ask Us page, or even just swing by the desk on the 4th floor and chat to us in person.

Thank you for your assistance with this, and we look forward to a nice smooth Affiliation Week!

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