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Hi all,

It’s been a little bit since my last post on Hirsh Library Statistics, which means it’s time again! So pour your favorite caffeinated beverage, grab a plate of free food (statistically speaking, there’s free food somewhere in this building right now), and relax as I offer you some numbers and information that you will not be tested on.

What a relief, right?

So, first up: we’ve actually held relatively steady this year as compared to last year, in terms of circulation and head counts. This probably comes as a surprise to everyone who has only been busier every year (I know I have), but there are always environmental factors to account for. For instance, if everyone’s using ebooks, they don’t need to check things out of Reserve, and in the numbers it looks like we’ve gone down. But our Open Workshops, librarian consultations, and even on the fly assistance at the Service Desk have all been super busy. So I want you to keep that in mind as you read on: everything requires a grain of salt.

Also to keep in mind, these numbers will be from July 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018.  The most interesting ones are smack in the center of the school year, though. For instance: our single busiest circulation day of the year was October 4th, when we were averaging a checkout every 5 minutes. That’s nutty! And that doesn’t account for all of the research assistance, troubleshooting, or item returns.

Of the top 10 spots for busiest Circulation day of the year, 4 are in October (which accounts for the top 3 spots), 3 are in September, and then the remainder is split between November, February, and March (there was a tie for #10).

Yes, that’s right. February. February! Here, let me shock you: This year, the busiest month was October, at 3412 checkouts. Second place went to September at 2983, but the shocker is February as third place and 28868. Third! I’m glad that you all love our library so much more than the cold February weather, because dang.

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Okay, so that’s the overall look of things. The blue bars are the total numbers of times we’ve checked things out, and the red bars are the total numbers of people we’ve counted in the library. Things to know: the blue bars do not count the number of people, just number of checkouts (we don’t have a way to count number of people who have checked things out). And the red bars require staff to physically walk around, so there’s an element of human error in there. But still, what a snapshot!

You may also notice that October, while still very full, was actually not the top spot in seating counts. That honor goes to March, and my best guess would be “exam season.” But October cinched its second place spot, followed (again!) by February in third. Each one of those months is over 12,000 people sitting in the library, by the way. And in case you’re wondering, October did have the single busiest day for those, at 2,590 people on the 29th. February comes in second place here, with 1,057.

Dang, what a month.

Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. “Tom, what about all those times we were asked what program we were with?  What’s the deal with that?” Well good news, I have the deal with that!

For those who might not remember: HHSL staff walked around a few times a day, 7 days in the month of October and again in March, in an effort to find out how much the various programs use our library space, and we got some neat data. Behold!

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That’s a whole lot of people. That top chart focuses on the day of the week of a given count, and the bottom compares each program. I find that shift from being busier earlier in the week to being busier in the latter half rather interesting, although I don’t know if I can find a particular reason for it. Timing of exams, perhaps?

The second chart has my attention, however. Look at some of those numbers! I wonder what happened with the PHPD and MBS numbers, though. I do know that their exams did not quite line up with our counts the way that Dental and Medical’s did, so if I had to guess I’d say that it was just an issue of two or three weeks. Crazy how much of a difference that makes!

Finally, I will leave you with this chart, which goes to show just how much people love the 7th floor. Fun fact about this one: when you look at the numbers, the 7th floor is consistently twice as populated as any other floor. No wonder some people have trouble finding study cubicles – they’re always full!

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If you want to get a little deeper into this all, or have any questions about it, I am at the the HHSL Service Desk five days a week, and am always happy to talk shop. Otherwise, I hope you’re all enjoying the weather, and I look forward to seeing what the next year brings us!

Tom

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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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