Currently viewing the tag: "circulation"

 

Circulation staff can no longer send out notices to remind patrons when reserve items are due.

Please pay attention to when you are told the item is due (4 hours after you check it out).

Set an alarm, write yourself a note etc.

Remember, signing the equipment agreement means that you understand and will abide by all the loan policies.

Avoid the block! Bring it back on time! For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/blockpolicy

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Need a break from studying? Looking for something for you and some friends to do during some free time? Stop by the 4th floor service desk and borrow a board game. We have Jenga, Uno, Operation, puzzles, decks of cards and more!

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Hello everyone! It’s been a bit since the last time I did an annual round-up of the data I have for the library, and I thought it was high time to do another one. Especially given how much things have changed these last few years. And what interesting changes!

First thing is first, of course: what were the fullest days in the library this past year? There are actually two answers! On both December 6th and April 4th we counted 950 people sitting in the library. 950! That’s nuts! A neat side fact: both of those days are Tuesdays, and both were the Tuesday after the second weekend of Extended Hours in their respective semester. Either blind chance was on our side those days, or Tufts is big on keeping the same exam style no matter what. Go figure.

Incidentally, this year I became curious about how busy the floors were when compared with each other. The answer is this rather silly looking chart.

See that purple there? That’s the 7th floor. It was twice as busy as the 6th floor. Twice! We counted people 35,000 times on the 7th floor this last year! The others don’t even come close. Obviously, part of this can be explained by the fact that we added so much new furniture last year, but that’s not the entire story. I think it’s safe to say that students around here just really like their quiet space to study.

“But Tom,” you ask, “how do these kinds of numbers compare with past years?” Well I’m glad you asked that, HHSL Blog Reading Person, because I have an answer for you! The chart below is the total number of people we’ve counted in the library, by month, over the last 4 years.

The purple would be this year. It looks like a lot, but you can see the same sort of wave formation every single year – we start off slow in the summer, get busy in the fall, slow down in the winter (we only get about half of December’s days counted due to the break, and January starts off slowly anyway), and then the whole thing picks back up in time for all the exams, only to slow back down in June.

What does this tell us, then? Well, we’ve been busy. We’ve been very busy. As you can see, everything sort of spiked back in 2014-2015, but this year was consistently busier than the year before it. July and August were the exceptions, but I’m certain that March and April more than make up for those.

Seeing these numbers go up and down over the years presents an interesting thought challenge: why do they fluctuate so much? Well, a little of it is human error, a little bit is due to changes in how we collect this data, a little of it is the way the programs on campus have been changing and adapting (which means the student body has been adapting), and part of it is sheer environmental factors. Snow days, for instance, or the way holidays fall – if we’re closed, we won’t be counting anybody!

“Okay Tom, I see. How about circulation? Surely human error is minimized when you have a program doing all your counting for you.”

Note: We got a new circulation system in June 2017, so the numbers got interrupted.

You would be right. And you’re about to really enter the head-scratcher.

Somehow we were insanely full this year, while also having our second slowest year of checkouts since we started collecting these numbers this way. We have a ton of new resources for you, but circulation is down? Let me share the secret answer: the Internet. HHSL is constantly searching out new digital books, journals, and databases for everyone on campus, which means our physical books are not in as high demand as they used to be. So while the overall circulation is down, what is circulating is getting checked out like mad – for instance, our phone chargers alone registered 8,000 checkouts this year. The busiest year yet for them!

In case you were curious (I know you were) the most checkouts we had in a single day was 210 checkouts, which belongs to Wednesday, October 5th. 9 out of the 10 busiest circulation days were in the fall (with February 27th clocking in at #7). That particular information doesn’t really tell us much, but it’s fun to know all the same.

For the record, “busiest circulation day” is only in reference to amounts of checkouts (and subsequent check-ins) in a given day. It doesn’t count all of the times that librarians have a consultation with someone to help with research, or the times that the library staff at the Service Desk troubleshoot or help you find articles, or all the direction given, or printing problems fixed, or on-the-fly assistance with programs like EndNote…it’s a helpful metric, but it’s not the full story. Heck, it’s missing the craft events! You can’t have a complete picture without those.

All of these numbers are pieces to a puzzle, and it’s one we’re always working on here. You’re looking at a few pieces of it, but there are always more to add. And we’re always looking for more of those pieces, be it anything mentioned above or be it School Affiliation data. So as we enter the 2017-2018 year, keep your eye open for people walking around with clipboards and say hi! And who knows, maybe you’ll be part of one of these charts in the future.

-Tom-

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Movie Popcorn and Candy

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Is it just us or have a lot of books been making appearances on the big screen lately? Rolling Stone just released their 2017 Summer Movie Preview and we couldn’t help but notice that one of Stephen King’s books made the list. On August 4, 2017,  The Dark Tower, the first installment of an adaptation of King’s  Dark Tower series will hit theaters (Check out the trailer on Youtube). The film is technically a continuation of the novels, but will draw on elements from the The Gunslinger, the first book in the series. Borrow a copy from us and read the book first!

Interested in other movies that were books written by Stephen King? Check out his website for a complete movie list from A to Z.

 

 

Hello there. Meet the Block.

What is this Block, you may ask? Well if you haven’t needed to know, consider yourself lucky (or, perhaps, just good with time management). The Block is an ever-vigilant consequence. Kind of like Batman, but without the martial arts skills, money, gadgets, costume, tragic backstory, or even opposable thumbs.

So…not very much like Batman at all, I guess.

The Block is what you face when you return Reserve items too late. All of the Hirsh Library Reserve items (laptops, chargers, many textbooks, all models, etc) can be checked out for 4 hours at a time. As long as there’s no immediate shortage and/or demand, you can even renew your item(s) by coming to the desk! But if you are too late, the Block will find you.

At your first offense, you will lose all borrowing privileges and they will only be reinstated after 24 hours. At your second offense, they won’t be reinstated until a week has passed. Third offense is a month, and the library will send a letter to your Dean.

So be careful, and don’t mock the Block! Set an alarm on your phone, write the due time on your hand, whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the Block. Bring your items back on time, and you will be able to continue using the library happily! But if you don’t, and you ignore this warning…well.

The Block is waiting.

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Hi everybody! It’s been a little bit since my last statistics post (just about one year, in fact), so it seemed high time for me to do another one of these. Today I’ll be focusing on October 2016 and March 2017, which were our two Affiliation Months this year. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, that’s when the library staff go and ask every person in the library what their program is, so that we can have a general sense of how our space is being used.

Still with me? Good!

Click to see full size

This first chart is comparing the Affiliation Stats from October 2016 and March 2017. To gather this info, we chose 7 days out of each month (one Sunday, one Monday, etc. All were chosen randomly) and on those days went around 4 times a day. This is always an interesting comparison due to the different programs and the way they operate. Dental and Medical students were gearing up for board and class exams, so it’s no surprise that we would see so many extras in March. There was a jump in PA as well (new class means new exams!), but then we saw drops with Sackler, Friedman, MBS, and PHPD. So what happened there? It’s hard to say. Different timing on exams, different demands on the classes, all sorts of things can affect attendance in the library. Ultimately, March was still the busier month: we counted 3,327 people in March, but only counted 3,115 people back in October.

The thing to keep in mind is that these numbers are only a snapshot. To truly know what the individual program attendance in this library is like for a full month we would need to gather this data every single day for that entire month, and that is unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how much quiet you like) unrealistic for us. Do you know what is quite realistic, however? Collecting a month’s worth of circulation data!

Click to enlarge

Bam. That’s a full month of data right there! So what does this show us when compared to the Affiliation graph? Well for one, we can see that the space was occupied more than our things were being checked out to a point, which is actually pretty normal. People do like checking things out (skulls! laptops! books! phone chargers! oh my!), but the library keeps adding more and more space, making it easier to go and hide out and get your studying in.

But here are some thoughts: why are the numbers so similar? We never have had a 1-1 relationship between studying and circulation before, but parts of this are surprisingly close. What’s causing the numbers to fluctuate the way they do? Consider: we have exams in March and April, and Extended Hours at the end of March. Affiliation was overall higher (by 212 people), but Circulation was lower (by 249 checkouts). Weird, right?

There are many factors that affect all of these numbers, but I won’t be going into them in this post. There’s only so much space, and I still need to talk about the floors!

Click to embiggen

So. Dental students love the 7th floor. Surprise! Medical and MBS are also huge fans, so it looks like all of those new study carrels we added last summer really helped! Everybody else is spread rather evenly over the floors, although I do find it interesting that the PA students go up to 7 when they’re not in class (I guess to get away from the classrooms – can’t say I blame anyone). It’s good to see people like the furniture and spaces so much! Warms the heart (which is numbered and on a stand, and you can check out from the Library Service desk for 4 hours at a time. I’m not kidding).

The 7th floor has always been the most popular (generally about twice as popular as any of the other floors), and the breakdown after that is always fascinating. Medical students overwhelmingly prefer the 7th, followed by 6 – study quiet, which makes sense. Since the 4th and 5th floors offer some small group opportunities, those are split evenly. Dental may trend toward groups even more so than I used to think – perhaps that’s why there are so many up on 7, and then in decreasing order from 4, 5, and 6?

I would like to state that it is exciting to see Sackler, Friedman, PA, PHPD, and MBS showing up in larger and larger numbers. Hirsh Health Sciences Library is for everyone on the campus, and we want you all to feel welcome! That’s why we have so many study carrels, and the Collaboration Rooms, and craft days, and all the other things that make the days go round. And based on the posts from over the last few years, it seems like we’re only getting more and more popular, which is fantastic. Feel free to keep coming in bigger numbers, we have space for you all!

And on that uplifting note I will leave you for now. Perhaps I will be able to do a look at the full year’s numbers in a few months, so keep your eyes peeled. Until then: good luck with any exams you have left, and I’ll see you all around the library!

Tom

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hand

When you need a helping hand, Hirsh is here for you. This 3-part internal hand structure is now available at the Circ Desk on the 4th floor . We’ve also picked up a skeleton arm and a leg.

All pieces are on reserve, number-coded and come with reference booklets.

armleg

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It is April of 2016, which means now is a great time to look at the Hirsh Library School Affiliation Survey from March and see how it compares to the one from October. Let’s get started!

School Total

First thing is first: PHPD has rocked up in numbers! Dental has traditionally been the most frequently counted school in this survey, but this is the first time that Medical has been dethroned as 2nd place. And look at the number differences: The difference from first to second place is 21 people, and the difference of second to third is 15. That’s ridiculous! We are very busy people here at HHSL.

“But Tom, what about Circ this time around? Does that match up to what we’re seeing here?” Oh, of course not. As you can see here:

Circ

Medical keeps their hold on the highest circulation of the week. However, what’s truly interesting is the strong showing of the PHPD programs and Nutrition. Look at those numbers! As someone whose whole job revolves around circulation at this library, it’s very exciting to see the growing interest in all programs across the board.

It is, generally, at this point that I go and show you something like a breakdown of the schools by floor. And therefore, I’m going to do that right now!Floors

The 7th floor is, undoubtedly, the monarch of the floors. Look at that. Medical, Dental (by a massive margin) and Sackler/PHPD programs (by a smaller but still strong margin) all love themselves the 7th floor. I still find it interesting, though, that for Dental it’s 7th and then 5th, but for Medical it’s 7th and then 6th. A difference in study habits, perhaps – Dental students might be more interested in group rooms, whereas the Medical students are looking for singular study spaces (like small tables and study carrels). It would account for the 7th floor’s popularity with both, and then the difference in second favorite.

Nutrition seems to be much more interested in being able to talk – the openness of the 5th floor (and its collaboration rooms), followed by the room-heavy 7th.

And this is where we run into a limitation with the way we’ve been doing this survey: combining PA, PHPD, MBS, and Sackler all into one category. We know that the MBS program has been growing each year, and we know that the PA program has been growing. And PHPD encapsulates a number of other degree programs. Sadly, until now, I haven’t been able to distinguish between them when looking at this survey.

Going forward, however, I’ll be able to! We’re working on some back-end adjusting of how we collect all of this data, so that way we can be much more accurate across the board while going forward. After all, accuracy leads to knowledge, and knowledge is what we’re striving for here! I’m not sure anyone at HHSL was quite prepared for the way our numbers have exploded over the last couple years, so we’re playing a bit of catch-up in a few areas to make sure we can still serve the needs of our entire community!

But you’re probably wondering how March measures up against our October Affiliation count. It looks something like this:

Schools 2

It looks a lot like that! That’s surprising, kind of. Right? I mean, that is a lot of people. A. Lot. I find it interesting that Medical and Dental jumped so high (Boards and the infamous Dental Exam Block probably had a bit to do with that), but the PHPD programs dropped a little, and Nutrition bumped up slightly. Now what about the floors? How do those look?

Floors 2

They look busy is what they look like. Every single floor got busier! This, of course, comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody – it’s a well known fact that we’re busier in the spring than the fall (fun fact! Currently, October is the busiest month, followed by March, and February. April is traditionally the outright busiest of the year, however, so we’ll have to see how things turn out). But still, it’s kind of cool to see that each floor went up by just about the same proportion across the board. That’s ridiculous. That’s not supposed to happen in the real world! And yet, here we are.

Finally, we have the weekdays:

Weekdays

As you may have realized by now, I deal with a ton of statistics during the year. The red bars you see above most closely resemble the regular, month-by-month bell curve of how busy each day of the week is. The busiest day of the week might shift a bit between Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but in general? It looks like that. Like a bell curve. But the blue! October did something unique, and dipped right in the middle of the week.

It’s worth noting: neither of these weeks had any major exams, and neither week had any holidays. They were chosen for both of those reasons. Perhaps that Wednesday in October was unseasonably nice, and everyone just really needed to be outside? Can’t say I blame them.

So there you have it! Our Affiliation Stats round-up. I’m already looking forward to doing some of the year-end numbers, and finding out just how crazy busy HHSL has been in the 2015-2016 academic year.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go look at something other than Excel for a few hours. Perhaps a few days.

Tom

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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.

Affiliation

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,
Tom

 

 

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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):

1

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):

2

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:

3

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:

4

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

5

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

6

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:

7

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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