For the first two weeks of April, staff here at the Hirsh Library walked around and asked everyone what school they were from. Well, we have tallied some of the results of all of that work, and have uncovered some interesting numbers!
Over the course of 13 days and 39 rounds of asking, we talked to 6,884 people. Ultimately, 2,539 of those people were from the Dental school, making that the most populous group we had in the library – a full 37% of the population of Hirsh! Medical came in at a close second of 2,373 people (a difference of a mere 166!), followed by the combined Sackler schools (PA, PHPD, and MBS) at 1,360, with Friedman rounding out at 347. The remainder was made up by staff from the Tufts Medical Center, the HNRCA, Tufts students, staff, and faculty from the other campuses, and even affiliated hospitals and schools in the Boston area. You can see the breakdown here.
Now, that’s interesting data, but what does it all mean? After all, we were counting 4 times a day, so a question some people may have is “Which time was the busiest, ultimately?” Well, the answer will…probably not surprise you at all. It turns out people are much more into early lunches than they are late nights:
Anyone who spends any time around the students of the different schools knows that everyone has different needs and wants when it comes to studying and getting ready for exams. It reasonably follows to assume that it means that people gravitate toward different environments – some might study better when there’s a bit of background noise, or do better in groups, whereas other people need to be alone with their books, notes, and a coffee. So which school tends to be full of which kind of person?
To begin with, it seems as though the 7th floor is the most popular floor amongst all the schools, as you can see here:
But the only way to get the full story is to keep going and see if you can pick out the personality types. Well, far and away it’s clear that Medical students are fans of quiet. Specifically, the quiet the 7th floor provides. Although, as you can see, it looks like if space is at a premium on that floor, people will start on the 6th and slowly work their way back down again.
The Dental school, however, appears to encourage people to look for slightly different environments. Unfortunately, we don’t have data linking school affiliation to type of seating they chose (study carrel, study room, group table, etc), but it may be a safe bet to assume that Tufts’ future dentists are by and large fans of small group study, and gravitated toward the study rooms and classrooms.
But what about Sackler? Well, it would appear that the combined programs of PA, PHPD, and MBS were mainly looking for a (relatively) quiet space to claim as their own, but that wouldn’t be quite the proper story. We unfortunately don’t have a breakdown of those three programs (vs. the “Sackler” umbrella), but it’s worth keeping in mind that the 6th floor has a very convenient classroom, and that the 7th floor has quite a multitude of small group study rooms. Perhaps those in the Sackler school are straddling a line somewhere between the Dental and Medical students.
Which brings us, last but certainly not least, to Friedman students, who were not content to be quiet and alone up on the 6th and 7th floors. The students from the Friedman School of Nutrition much preferred the hustle and bustle of the 4th and 5th floors to the quiet and solitude of the others, and showed it unequivocally during the two weeks of our survey.
Ultimately, with the sheer amount of data we collected (and continue to collect in other ways), it’s easy to get the answer to almost any question we may have. But the main question – the most important one that drives all of our programs and future planning at the library – is “What is it our patrons need?” Thanks to everyone’s participation in surveys and questionnaires like this one, we know that study space (and access to plugs in said study space) is absolutely vital, and we know who might be most likely to use what facilities. We’ve been learning other lessons, but today, that one is one that stands above the others.
We will continue to do surveys like this one (although perhaps not during final exams) so that we can fine tune our answers and respond to the changing needs of our community in the future.
So on behalf of the staff here at Hirsh Health Sciences Library, I would like to thank you for bearing with us and helping us learn how to serve you better. Every little bit that we can do helps, and we can’t do it without you.
PS: if you were wondering how checkouts lined up during this time period, well…it’s fairly safe to say that the need for skulls swung that pendulum in a rather specific way.
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