Posts by: Thomas Quinn

In honor of the holiday, Hirsh Health Sciences Library will be open shortened hours on Monday, January 18th: from noon to 7 pm.

We hope you have a good (long) weekend, and we’ll see you for normal hours on Tuesday!


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Hello hello! It’s about that time again: I’m going to fill your life with statistics and numbers and hopefully a few interesting facts, and you can enjoy it in between panicking about that paper due tonight and that exam you have tomorrow. This post will be a perfect length for you to read and then hit the bathroom before your break time is up and you need to get back to work.

So. Let’s get started!

October was busy for us. Crazy busy, in fact. As you can see below, October was far and away the busiest month we had at the desk – we were just shy of 4300 checkouts! Egads. It was also the busiest month we had with our roaming statistics (which you’ve most likely seen – a staff member walking around with an iPad counting heads in the library). You may recognize these numbers as “not even close.”

Circ vs Roam

“But what about the Affiliation Week?” you may ask. Well I’m glad you asked! The answer is kind of fascinating. So one thing that we strive for with this is to be as accurate as we can with what a “typical” week looks like here. As you can imagine, that is quite difficult, given the propensity of the schools to have full blocks of exams, staggered about the semester.  We chose October 25th – 31st this year, since there were no exams that week, and therefore the numbers would be as least skewed as we could make them. Here’s what we saw.


The Dental School dominated the counted programs. This is probably not a surprise to anyone, since that’s been the trend. However, what is a surprise is the combined Sackler/PHPD (which includes PA and MBS). Their numbers have absolutely skyrocketed, and now even outpace the Medical school. That’s crazy! Unfortunately, the way the Affiliation data is collected, we don’t really know how much of that would be MBS students getting ready for MCATs, or PA hanging around and studying after (or in between) classes. But it’s still awesome to see!

If you break it down by floor, you’ll notice everybody loves the 7th floor, because of course they do! It’s great! Tons of individual study space, and plenty of group rooms. Dental looks like if they couldn’t take the 7th, they’d stay on the 4th, but everybody else started on the 7th and then trickled downward. Well…except for Friedman. Nutrition students like the 5th floor, it looks like – possibly big fans of the collaboration rooms?

Affiliation Floors

Incidentally, this past November I actually went to a library conference down in Atlanta. I don’t know if you’ve been to Atlanta, but if you go, make sure to have some local beers (many good microbreweries down there), and go check out the Georgia Aquarium! The whale sharks are insane.

Sorry, got carried away there. The reason I mention this is that all of my work with stats here at Hirsh over the years led me to presenting a poster down at the conference! I talked with people from around the country about data collection and its uses. As it turns out, your very own Hirsh Health Sciences Library is at something of a leading edge with all of this! See, the entire philosophy behind finding all these numbers out is that we want to be able to serve all of you as best as we possibly can, and every piece of information helps with that mission. I don’t tend to get too technical with these posts, but we do know (for instance) that laptops, Mac chargers, and phone chargers are the most popular items to be checked out. Books have been slipping every year as the schools push toward digitization, and the library has to be able to stay on top of that.

Well, we’re not alone! Other libraries – all libraries, really – are trying to keep up with the changing face of their patron body, and they aren’t always getting the info they need from their patrons or schools before they actually need it. So they’re starting to turn to data collection – Circulation statistics, head counts, all that stuff – in an attempt to see trends as they’re starting. I was very popular at this conference, as it turned out.

And in case you doubt my story, here’s the proof:

2015-11-12 17.10.13

That is me, looking a combination of tired and excited, standing next to my poster (which, I’d like to note, was visually designed by the delightful Katherine Morley, Admin Coordinator for Hirsh, and head of our PR committee – so the brains behind events like our monthly crafts). The graphs on there are actual data from the library – specifically, it’s Circulation, Roaming, and Affiliation data from July 2013 through October 2015. Two and a half years of numbers, and trends, and watching our library grow and expand. I won’t lie – I was feeling pretty proud of what we do here while I was talking to people.

In the nerdiest way possible, of course.

On that note, I will leave you be. Thank you for sticking with me on this post! I truly appreciate it. Now, go hit the bathroom, get yourself some caffeine delivery system of choice, and get back to studying! I have faith that you’ll do well, but fortune favors the prepared.

Good luck with the exams, and have a good break!

Until next time,



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December means you have exams, and so the Hirsh Health Sciences Library has extended hours! The Library Service Desk on Sackler 4 will be open from 10 am – 10 pm on the following weekend days:

Saturday, December 5th
Sunday, December 6th

Saturday, December 12th
Sunday, December 13th

The Sackler building will be open until 1:30 am on both Saturdays.

On both Sundays, there will be free coffee after Food 4 Thought closes! It’s first come first served, so make sure you come swing by at 5pm both days to get yourself a pick-me-up for your studying.

If you have any questions, then you can (as always) come see us on the 4th floor, or call at 617-636-6706.

Good luck with your exams!

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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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