Posts by: Thomas Quinn

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!

 

Fireworks!

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!

medical

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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):

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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):

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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:

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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:

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

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

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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:

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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.

Tom

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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 hhslcirc@tufts.edu, 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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10 o'clock

The first of our extended hours for the 2014 winter exam season will be this Sunday, November 30th, and the Hirsh Library Service Desk will be open 10 am to 10 pm. So you can come start studying as soon as you get back from break!

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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Turkeys!

From our turkeys to yours, we hope you have a relaxing Thanksgiving break next week! And to aid in that relaxing, Hirsh Health Sciences Library will be closing Wednesday the 26th at 5 pm, and will re-open on Sunday, November 30th at 10 am. We will be closed in between, so make sure to get in some of that sleep you’ve been skipping out on, and we’ll see you once you’re refreshed and full of food!

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This past October, from the 19th to the 25th, we ran our semi-annual School Affiliation statistics again. This time around, we were able to keep it away from a major exam block, and we also grabbed the circulation data for that time to make sure we got the best picture of the week. Since it was shorter than last time, this post will be relatively quick. But hopefully you’ll still find it interesting!

First thing is first: how many people were in the library that week? Well, we counted a total of 3,230 people that week, 695 of which were here on Wednesday alone. You can see the breakdown below.

Total People

 

Now, what you’re probably really wondering is how that breaks down by school, right? The answer is rather interesting. Namely, it breaks down (by floor, even!) thus:

 

You may notice that everyone loves the 7th floor, and that the Dental school in particular loves the ever-loving-fillings out of it. It’s worth noting that they had some exams that week, which helps explains their numbers. But what’s interesting in that graph is that you can see what kind of exams they were – the kind that required solo study (notice that the quiet floors had the majority of them). In fact, this survey seems skewed toward quieter studying. I look forward to finding out what differences there are come Spring – does April encourage more group study than October? Or was it pure chance that these number shook out this way?

Of course, what’s most fascinating is when you compare the above graph with the circulation one below, and see the full picture:

It can be a little tricky to tell due to scale there, but Medical actually checked out the most that week, followed by Nutrition, and then Dental. It seems that the Dental students were really here for the studying, not the circulation. And the Medical students were most likely checking things out and then going back to the individual study rooms or learning commons – essentially showing up on one set of statistics but not the other. Although Nutrition really made the interesting difference – the circulation number is actually higher than what we counted!

This is why the middle and bottom graphs are uneven when compared to one another – people just simply move around. The library supplies space and materials, but they don’t always get used at the same time.

That wraps it up for this time. We could, of course, look at these numbers from a dozen different directions, but maybe we can save that for the next time. After all – it’s only November.

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Next week, from Sunday, October 19th through Saturday, October 25th, Hirsh Library will be running its semi-annual School Affiliation Survey. The idea behind it is that we want to know where our users are coming from, so that we can better serve their needs through proper allocation of resources. We would also like to know who is being under-served (or at least underrepresented), so we can find new ways to help all of the students, staff, and faculty here on the Boston Campus.

During the week, if you are in the library at 11am, 3pm, 6pm, or 9pm, you may be asked what school or office you are from. This is the only information we collect. We do not look for names or University status, just school. In fact, this is a screenshot of the entire screen our staff see when asking that question:

Affiliation Survey

If you feel uncomfortable saying your school affiliation out loud, or if you don’t want to be bothered while working, that’s perfectly fine! You have a few options: you can either leave your Tufts ID out, or you can swing by either the 4th or 5th floor desks and grab a piece of paper to write your school on. That way, when the person taking this information comes by, they can just look at either the ID or the paper and move on. 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 hhslcirc@tufts.edu, 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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Now that the semester has begun, we expect to be seeing a lot of you at our Service Desk on the 4th floor of Sackler! Of course, we expect to be seeing a lot of everyone at the desk, which means that we have to ask you to be punctual about getting Reserve books, models, and equipment back to us when it’s due, so that your fellow students can have a shot at using them as well. To this end, we created a Late Return Policy and put it into effect a year ago.

The basic idea is that you have 4 hours with the material (unless otherwise stated). If you do not return the material within the designated time, then you run the risk of losing all borrowing privileges. On your first offense, they will be reinstated 24 hours after you return everything, but on the second offense it’s a full 7 days. If you’d like to read the full policy, you can do so here.

If you think you’ll need to keep your books or equipment longer, just come back to the desk and check with us! If no one else is waiting, we can most likely renew it for you, and give you another 4 hours.

If you have any questions about the policy (or about your current status), you can call us at 617-636-6706, or just come visit us on Sackler 4.

Happy Borrowing!

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