Posts by: Katie Kidwell

As I’m sure you’re well aware, exam season is upon us! This means it is time for our annual extended hours, where Hirsh Library opens earlier and stays later so you can study longer. We will be open from 10am to 10pm the following days:

  • Saturday, December 2nd
  • Sunday, December 3rd
  • Saturday, December 9th
  • Sunday, December 10th

We will also be providing you with free coffee both Saturdays around 4pm. Take a quick break, come down to the 4th floor Service Desk, and commiserate while you caffeinate!

A sunflower, a clock reading 12, and a weird doll lying in the snow

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Building access remains the same throughout finals – swipe access from 6am – 11pm. Extended hours are strictly for the Hirsh Service Desk. If you have any questions, feel free to swing by the desk, call us at 617-636-6706 or email us at

Happy studying!


Turkey Day is nearly here, which means Hirsh will have altered hours this week. The Library Service Desk will be closing early at 1pm on Wednesday, November 22nd and will remain closed until Sunday, November 26th at 12pm noon. Building hours and access will remain the same.

Large turkey sitting on grass

Turkey Glamour Shot courtesy of Pixabay

So, whether you’re trying to figure out why there are so many wild turkeys in Massachusetts or simply enjoying eating the bird, the Hirsh Health Sciences Library team wishes you some rest, relaxation, and gratitude this long weekend. See you Sunday!


In observance of Veterans’ Day on Friday, November 10th, the Hirsh Library Service Desk will have shortened hours of 12pm – 7pm with no online chat, though building access remains unchanged. Regular hours resume on Saturday.

A field of poppies against a cloudy blue sky, the sun shining.

A field of poppies, courtesy of Pixabay

Veterans’ Day honors the service of U.S. military veterans. Originally called Armistice Day, it first marked the ending of World War I with an agreement signed between Germany and the Allies on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. John McCrae’s “In Flanders Field” captures the feeling of seeing poppies growing out of a scarred battlefield; they have since become a symbol of remembrance. You can read McCrae’s poem online.

Enjoy your long weekend!


I pace the halls of Hirsh Library, entreating all who encounter me to heed my words! I was created not of my own volition but out of a sense of necessity, caused by the grief of equipment being turned in way past its due date, if at all.   

Alas, I am feared for my hideous appearance, horrifying and revolting to all who have the misfortune of casting their eyes upon me. However, I serve only as warning and reminder, I am not some “abhorred monster” as some may claim. I am here to rescue you, though you may see me as inflicting harm. Rather I serve to guide you toward responsible circulation habits. 

I have a right to happiness, and therefore, it’s essential that you return your items on time! Otherwise, I seek revenge! “Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful! I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom.”  


picture of square block modified to look like frankestein

At first offense, you will be barred from library borrowing for the span of a day (24-hour block).  

The second time you stray from the agreed upon guidelines, this time period shall be expanded to seven days and nights from the point of the item’s return (1 week block). 

That unhappy third time, as I have learned to speak and read, thus I must share the stories of your misdeeds with your Dean and inhibit your ability to check out items for one week. (1 week block and intercession with the Dean).  

 Finally, at a fourth offense, one month will not suffice, and your ability to borrow from these hallowed halls shall span the rest of the semester, and, again, my wretched wailing will once again reach the ears of your dean (Semester block and additional meeting with Dean).  

 “I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.” Therefore, I beg of you, please, carefully read Hirsh’s Overdue Items Policy and return all items when they are due to keep me from my cruel fate! 


In observance of Indigenous People’s Day on Monday, October 9th, the Hirsh Library Service Desk will have shortened hours of 12pm – 7pm with no online chat. Regular hours resume on Tuesday. Building access remains unchanged on Monday, and the service desk will have regular hours on Saturday and Sunday. 

part of analog clock face reading 11:59

Image by Aleza from Pixabay

Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors the “sovereignty, resilience, and immense contributions that Native American have made to the world,” as stated in a federal proclamation by President Biden, the first president to formally commemorate the holiday instead of Columbus Day. There are many ways to learn more and recognize the day. You can read about how Indigenous Peoples’ Day provides greater context to American history, especially since most curriculums end their study of Native American history before 1900. You could visit Tufts University Art Galleries from 11am-5pm. In Medford, visit Véxoa: We Know (Nós sabemos), a survey exhibition about Indigenous artists of Brazil. In Boston, visit Double Arrows, feature art by Elizabeth James-Perry, an enrolled member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag. You could listen to this NPR podcast on Osage headrights, a system to give Osage people a share of the profits from the resources extracted from their land. Finally, you could find which Native land(s) you are on, through this interactive, searchable map showing Native territories, languages, treaties, and more.  



We at the library are gearing up for our biannual School Affiliation Survey, which starts next week and last throughout October! 

Maybe you noticed people already walking around with clipboards, counting and tallying a few times a day. That is for our statistics on the popularity of different spaces, like the study rooms or the couches. School Affiliation is different.  

This time, we’re trying to figure out how many students and staff from which school and program are using the library. We do this two times a year, 3-4 times a day, for every day of the week. There are 7 days spread out over the whole month, strategically chosen to try and maximize the usefulness of the numbers (i.e. to avoid exam blocks).  

During Affiliation, you’ll see a library staff member with a clipboard in hand, asking everyone which school/program they’re with (Med, Dental, GSBS, etc.). We make a check mark and move on. That’s it.

Since we’ll be asking, we wanted to give you some tips to minimize interruptions and make it a smooth process for everyone! 

  1. You can leave your ID on your desk beside you, so no one will interrupt you while you’re studying.
  2. You can write down your affiliation on a piece of paper and leave it beside you.
  3. If you’re in a study room, write down the number of people and their programs on the sheet taped on the front of the door.
  4. Just tell whoever walks by.
illustration of person walking and holding a clipboard in one hand, a pen in another

An approximation of library staff during an Affiliation count.
Illustration source:

After it’s all over, we’ll take some time to analyze the data and share what we find with you. Feel free to whet your appetite with last March’s affiliation results.   

We really appreciate your cooperation as this helps us put together our budgets for different resources for your benefit. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask us! You can call us at 617-636-6706, e-mail us at, visit our live chat on the Ask Us page, or just swing by the desk on the 4th floor and chat to us in person. Thank you so much!   



In observance of the Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 4th, the Hirsh Library Service Desk will have shortened hours of 12pm – 7pm with no online chat. The building access remains unchanged, and the service desk will have regular hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Hope you enjoy the weekend and a little bit of history about Labor Day, an annual celebration of the American labor movement!

Photograph of women in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 62 marching in a Labor Day parade

Women of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union Local 62 marching in a Labor Day parade. Courtesy of the Kheel Center at Cornell University, CC by 2.0,


Frederick Douglass famously asked “What, to the American Slave, is your 4th of July?” Many see the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 as the official end of slavery. However, it took nearly two and a half years for word to travel around the country; enslaved people in Texas did not learn of their freedom until June 19th, 1865, when the Union Army arrived to issue the order. Though many Black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth annually since then, it is just now starting to be recognized as an official public holiday, becoming federally-recognized in 2021.

In honor of Juneteenth, Hirsh Health Sciences Library will be closed on Monday, June 19, 2023. We reopen with regular hours on Tuesday, June 20th. Additionally, Tufts will be holding space for remembrance and reflection at a Juneteenth Observance Ceremony on Wednesday, June 21st from 12 – 1:30pm, featuring Dr. Nyle Fort, Assistant Professor of African America and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University. Whether attending in-person in Medford or streaming virtually, please RSVP online by Wednesday, June 14th.

Juneteenth Observance Ceremony Event Flyer

RSVP to the event at

Even if you’re unable to attend the event, the Tufts Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Office has put together a Resource Guide and a Reading List. Additionally, we encourage you to spend some time reading about the history of Juneteenth from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., learning why Juneteeth is important from the staff of the National Museum of African American History & Culture, and listening to NPR Code Switch’s podcast about Juneteenth food and its deeper meanings.

You can also celebrate Juneteenth at one of the many events around Boston. Embrace Boston is hosting a free Juneteenth Block Party at Roxbury Community College on Friday, June 16th. On Saturday, June 17th, Hyde Park’s second annual Juneteenth Joy Celebration will feature performances, dances, a local Black vendor fair, food, and fun. On Juneteenth, enjoy performances and art-making at the MFA for free, or see the Boston Juneteenth Parade march through Roxbury before visiting the National Center of Afro-American Artists.

Two Black women pose in horse-drawn buggy decorated with flowers in 1908

Juneteenth Buggy 1908 via Houston Public Library Digital Archives


You may remember HHSL staff walking around with clipboards periodically between mid-March and early April asking what school you were from (thanks again for letting us interrupt your studying). Well, even if you don’t, the results are in, and we’re eager to share them with you!


Total Numbers

Over the course of 7 days and 86 rounds, we were able to talk to a total of 1,729 people. We have a few rounds of lost data, so while these numbers are not perfect, they still give us a general understanding of library usage. From those folks we were able to capture, 763 were from the Dental School – just over 44% – and 815 were from the Medical School, including students in PA, PHPD, and MBS programs –  about 47%. There were 76 Friedman students, 64 GSBS students, and the rest were folks from TMC, HNRCA, and other part of Tufts, plus a few affiliate members. Remember, Hirsh welcomes everyone in the Tufts community! The total breakdown is below.

Chart of people using Hirsh by programSince we now know who was using the library, let’s look at where and when the library was being used.


In a statistic that I’m sure will shock exactly no one, the 7th floor remained our most popular space. Always. This time, the count on the 7th floor was more than twice that of the next closest floor. The 4th and 5th floors had similar usage, and the 6th floor saw the fewest visitors.

Chart of people using Hirsh by floor


The distribution of visitors across days almost looks like a bell curve. Our most popular day was Tuesday, followed closely by Wednesday and Monday. Surprisingly, Friday was the next busiest day, with nearly 75 more visitors than Thursday. This may be in part because Thursday is some missing data; regardless, this was a strong Friday showing. Not surprisingly, our least busy days were Saturday and Sunday.

Chart of people using Hirsh by day


Again, I doubt that you’ll be shocked that 3pm remains the busiest time of day at Hirsh. 11am is the second busiest time. Traffic tapers off in the evening, and 9pm is our least busy time by far – nearly 5x less busy than 3pm!

Chart of people using Hirsh by time of day


Total Floor Usage by Time of Day

While I still don’t think we can fully answer how the library is being used, we can glean some insight from looking at floor use by time. For example, not only is the 7th floor the most popular floor considering total visitors across the survey, it’s also the most popular floor at any given time of day. My guess is the 7th floor’s popularity comes from having the most study space, both with individual carrels and study rooms. However, the 4th floor is a close second at 11am with only 17 fewer people. I suspect this is a great time to start thinking about eating lunch and to connect with classmates in a space that isn’t a quiet floor. Again, the full breakdown is below. While there’s no way to prove these assumptions based on this information alone, it’s a good starting point to dig deeper into how people use the library.

Chart of total people using Hirsh by floor by time of day

So, on behalf of everyone at the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, thank you for your assistance in helping get a sense of your library usage so we can ultimately figure out how to serve you best! Which, if you have any feedback on what Hirsh could be doing for you, please reach out! The Library Service Desk is open 7 days a week  and you can email us at Otherwise, we’ll be back at it again in October. Until then…


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