Posts by: Thomas Quinn

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photo-1752164/

Exam season is upon us, which means it’s time for Extended Hours! Hirsh Library extends its weekend hours to help you study, and we will be open from 10am to 10pm on the following days:

Saturday, December 7th
Sunday, December 8th

Saturday, December 14th
Sunday, December 15th

We will also have free coffee for you all on the Saturdays! The coffee is scheduled to show up at 4pm, so so you can come take a quick study break and commiserate while you caffeinate.

As a reminder, the Med Ed building hours do not change. Swipe access is from 6am – 11pm, and if you are here by 11pm you can stay until midnight. Extended Hours are strictly for Hirsh Library services.

If you have any questions you can feel free to swing by the desk on the 4th floor, or call us at 617-636-6706. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you the next two weekends!

Happy Studying!

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Thanksgiving break is almost here, which means a chance to relax, recharge, and put those pants you have with elastic waists to good use! Hirsh Library will have altered hours for part of next week so we can go celebrate too, so here is the breakdown for you:

Monday 11/25:  7:45am-11:00pm (regular hours)

Tuesday 11/26:  7:45am-11:00pm (regular hours)

Wednesday 11/27: 7:45am-5pm

Thursday 11/28: Closed

Friday 11/29: Closed

Saturday 11/30: Closed

Sunday 12/1: 12-10pm (regular hours)

All of us here at Hirsh hope you have a happy, healthy, and above all relaxing break, and we will see you again when we return to normal hours on December 1st!

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Hi all,

In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the HHSL Service Desk will be open 12pm – 7pm on Monday, October 14th. Will return to normal operating hours on Tuesday the 15th.

The swipe access for the building will remain unchanged.

Have a great (long) weekend, and we’ll see you next week!

Tom

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Hello hello everyone. It’s about that time again: time for the Affiliation Survey!

Twice a year, the Hirsh Health Sciences Library runs the Affiliation Survey, where we walk around and ask every one of our lovely patrons which program they are with (Dental, Medical, Sackler, etc). This is all we ask. We will not ask for your name or even which year you’re in! The numbers we collect are used in aggregate so we can get a snapshot of what the library usage is like. The graph you see above is the result of last year’s two Affiliation months, for instance.

Here’s how it goes: there are 7 days spread out over the whole month, randomly chosen to try and maximize the usefulness of the numbers (in other words, we’re trying not to get skewed by specific exam blocks too much). On those days, HHSL staff (you’ll probably recognize us!) will walk around 4 times over the course of the day to gather the totals of how many people from each school are in the library. There will be signs and posters up this month, so you’re not caught unaware.

Keep your eyes out for them!

We won’t announce ahead of time which days we’re counting (see our need to randomize, above), so it’s safe to assume that it could just happen any day this month.

Don’t panic!

If you don’t want to be bothered (or to speak out loud), you are welcome to leave your ID next to you while you study. If that is still not good enough, you can write your program down on a piece of paper and leave that next to you. If you’re in a group room, feel free to stick a note to the outside of the door (on the wood – the windows must remain clear!) telling us how many people of what program(s) are in the room. Done and done. We will add that number to our count, and we will move on to the next person!

There are pencils, pens, markers, scrap paper, and tape down at the Service Desk on the 4th floor, so you can even make your sign bright and cheerful! If you have any questions or concerns, let us know either in person at the desk, or through Ask Us on our website. We’re here to help and make this quick and easy.

But otherwise, we look forward to seeing you all this month and finding out just what our beloved HHSL looks like this fine autumn.

Good luck on studying and I look forward to seeing you in the library!
Tom

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Hello hello! I am here to let you know that this Monday, September 2nd, is Labor Day. Here at Hirsh Library, that means the desk will only be open from Noon until 7pm. So if you need any assistance or even just a phone charger, that’s the time to come visit us!

The building itself will be open its regular hours for scan access and studying.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the remaining days of summer, and we will see you in September!

Leo the Skeleton model smiling at the camera, wearing a light blue Tufts Alumni visor, with a button pinned to it of The Block

Leo the Skeleton, winner of my personal secret Nicest Colleague Award, six years running.

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Hi everyone,

Time for another installment of my statistics posts! Since the big annual post last June, we’ve changed a little about what we collect, so sadly I don’t have handy available data for which one of our circulation days was the busiest this past year (although I will still be telling you the month). But I can tell you right off the bat that the day we counted the most people studying was November 28th, 2018, when we counted 911 people sitting in our library over the course of the day. 911! That is so many people! Part of it, of course, is all the new seating we keep getting, because we here at Hirsh Library care about where you’re going to sit for your (frankly incredibly long) study sessions. Part of it is probably that we’re just so darn nice.

Leo the Skeleton model smiling at the camera, wearing a light blue Tufts Alumni visor, with a button pinned to it of The Block

Leo the Skeleton, winner of my personal secret Nicest Colleague Award, six years running.

 

Anyway, you are here for some quick bar graphs and neat facts, and far be it from me to keep you from them! First off, here’s a bar graph of the last year’s worth of circulation stats (in blue) and head/seating counts (in red). These can be difficult to compare, since the numbers vary so far from one another (you may notice, for instance, that the circulation stats for a month never go above 3,000, but the seating counts never drop below that number). That is due simply to the digital nature of the schools here nowadays. Many of the students on this campus can stick with their computers, notes, and any textbooks they happen to own, and never really need to come to the desk. Which is a little too bad, given that we have so much stuff for  you, but that’s life. What matters here is that heavens to Betsy we had 3,023 checkouts in October! That averages 100 a day, but I can tell you from experience (and I have numbers in past years to back this up) that not all days are created equal. Weekends and holidays are slower, so to make up for those, we would have had single days getting up around the 200 checkout mark. My guess is a Tuesday or Wednesday right before a major anatomy exam.

A vertical bar graph, with circulation stats in blue and head counts in red.

Click to enlarge.

Now, just because nothing is fun if it lines up properly, October was the busiest month with checkouts (I won’t get into things like questions, consultations, or the sheer volume of EndNote assistance and troubleshooting I have personally offered), but November was actually the busiest month for students in seats, to the tune of 9,274 people counted. Egad! We only have four floors in this building, and the bulk of people (nearly half!) are on the 7th floor.

Incidentally, this seems like a good moment to mention we have foam ear plugs down at the Library Service Desk. They’re free, and you can keep them. We also have headphones you can check out, which cover your ear entirely. Great for blocking noise out!

These graphs always follow the same kinds of patterns, although I was honestly surprised that November took home the gold here. With the Thanksgiving break, it has never been out front like that. But from what I’ve been hearing on the grapevine (….hydrated humerus?), the schools have been shifting their academic schedules around, so I for one will be very interested to see how that effects our numbers.

Speaking of the floors: BAM! Have a chart about the floors. Remember I mentioned how busy the 7th floor is around here? Well I do not make those claims without the numbers to back me up, and hot dang the 7th floor got crazy busy. Particularly -interestingly enough – in January. Why was January the busiest month for the 7th floor? I can answer that the same way I can answer the question “Why do we pay more for the MBTA now but the service has somehow gotten worse?” And that answer is: I don’t know. Magic? Probably magic.

A bar graph of the head counts per floor over the year. Blue is 4th, red is 5th, green is 6th, purple is 7th.

Click to enlarge.

But I do find it cool (hah!) that it happened. I love little mysteries like the January 2019 one. 4,285 people counted on the 7th floor that month, the highest number of people counted on any floor in any month. And I wasn’t kidding about nearly half: that month, the 7th floor accounted for 49.8% of the 8,600 people counted in the library.

I joke around a lot on this blog, but in complete seriousness, I can speak for everyone here at Hirsh when I say: we’re glad you like it here so much, and are willing to spend so much time here. We try very hard to make sure you’re comfortable and have seating and food options for your long study sessions, so these kinds of numbers are good to see. It’s why I collect them in the first place.

Finally, did you know that back in April I wrote a post about the Affiliation Statistics we do here? If you want the full detail I recommend checking that post out, I just want to highlight the day-of-the-week breakdown I did from that post.

October and March headcounts by days of the week. October is in blue, March is in orange.

Click to enlarge.

You may notice that Monday is the busiest day of October, but Wednesday is the busiest day of March. That kind of thing happens a lot here, and things that seem to effect it are: weather patterns, exam schedules, food specials at the cafe, classes, and whether it’s a holiday week (Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October sometimes has a large effect, and sometimes not). I suspect that there’s also a bit of “I’ve been studying too much lately” and “Oh no Boards are upon me!” also happen, but while we collect all this data, we try very hard to not interrupt your studying.

So, where does this leave us? Well every year is a little different than years prior, and although this gives us a good blueprint for the upcoming year, the desk already feels significantly busier this week than it has in previous Orientation weeks, so there will be some improvisation as well. There always is. But if you’re like me, that’s exciting! Just means more of a challenge.

I hope you all have a great rest of your summers! Welcome back if you’re here, and if you’re not quite yet then make sure you get some beach trips in while you can. Class is around the corner.

And if you’re in the library, make sure to come say hi to me at the Library Service Desk on the 4th floor! I’m here all night.

Statistically yours,
Tom

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The Saturn V rocket on the launchpad, ready to start the Apollo 11 mission.

Image credit: NASA

 

50 years ago, on July 16, 1969, at 9:32 in the morning, the Apollo 11 mission launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Saturn V rocket. This was going to be the culmination of decades of work, and on July 20th, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would walk on the moon, the first two people in human history to do it. This Saturday, July 20th, is the 50th anniversary of the landing! There is a wealth of interesting things out there about the moon landing and the Apollo missions as a whole, but here are a couple to get you up to speed. I’ve read and watched most of this by this point, so I can happily tell you it’s quality stuff.

First: NASA is running a lot of events (including live streams) in honor of the 50th anniversary. They have a whole schedule on their website, and I highly recommend taking a look!

Second: NASA has released some stunning photos in honor of the anniversary. Check ’em out, all for free! You won’t even need your Tufts Login!

Third: if you prefer to read (or need to keep your roving data costs down when off of WiFi), I’d recommend checking out Amy Shira Teitel’s Twitter account. She runs a very interesting  YouTube channel called Vintage Space, and there are few laypeople quite as well steeped in space exploration history (particularly of NASA and its missions) as she is. Over on Twitter, however, she’s doing a live stream text and video of the full Apollo 11 mission, as it was happening. You can pretend you’re in 1969, but without the pesky interference of not having your smartphone!

Fourth: Books! If you want to honor this anniversary by digging into the moon missions and NASA a little bit more, Tufts has got you covered. For instance, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journey is the autobiography by Michael Collins, the pilot of the Apollo 11 mission. While Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the lunar surface, Collins orbited in the spacecraft, and is the man who got them there and back safely. Moon Shot: the Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon and Almost Heaven: the Story of Women in Space can also add some interesting context for you in space travel. If you want something a little more close to home (since we are a health sciences campus), there’s always Trailblazing Medicine: Sustaining Explorers During Interplanetary Missions. But if you’re going to be sitting on a beach and want something a bit more…fictional, you could to a whole lot worse than the very popular (and very funny) book The Martian by Andy Weir. These are only the tip of the rocket, of course. Poke around on JumboSearch and who knows what you’ll find! And don’t forget, if you want anything from one of the other Tufts Libraries, all you need to do is Request Book. You might not get it in time to read it this weekend, but there’s still plenty of 50th anniversary summer ahead of us.

Finally, I will leave you with this list of breakthroughs & advances. Space exploration is a dangerous game, and scientists need to stay one step ahead of nature if humans are to survive in such a hostile environment. Luckily, when they do, life down here on Earth can get a little better too – everything from LED lights and memory foam to better firefighting equipment and prosthetic limbs owes a bit of debt (or its existence entirely) to missions like Apollo 11.

So, for a few moments this Saturday, if you look around at the technology that powers your life, perhaps take a look upward, too, at the moon, and reflect for a moment on all the brave and brilliant people that made that event possible 50 years ago. What a wild ride it’s been.

Ad astra,
Tom

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Photo credit: Tom Quinn

This year, for Independence Day, the Hirsh Library will be closed Thursday, July 4th – Sunday, July 7th. We’ll be open regular hours again starting Monday, July 8th.

If you’re going to be hanging around Boston for that weekend, you could definitely go check out the Boston Fireworks Spectacular!

Hope you have a fun (and safe) weekend!

 

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Hello all, this seems like a good time for a brief round-up of what we learned during the two Affiliation Statistics months this year. If you don’t remember (and how couldn’t you?), those were October and March, when we went around asking you all what programs you happened to be from. It’s always an interesting project when we do it, and I always enjoy showing you some of what we learned.

For instance,  the breakdown of days! The way we do the actual survey involves some randomization and scattering around the month, but we make sure to get each day of the week included. In the past, Wednesday has been the busiest day of the week at Hirsh, and that held out in the March count, but in October, Monday was the busiest! There are many different reasons this happens, including class schedules, exam schedules, and even weather patterns. It does help us understand our patron needs, though, which is one more way we can help you all out.

Now, obviously we didn’t go around and ask you about what school you were from just so we could show you this chart of what days of the week are more popular. No, what you may really want to see is the breakdown of which program had the most people here to count, and here you go! The answer…well, probably won’t surprise you, but it’s still fun to look at!

Click to embiggen

Well would you look at that! Medical students and Dental students were the largest population in the library! Unlike past years, it appears there are more MD students studying in the Library, and I have a theory on that: seating. One thing I’ve noticed in the past from other statistics posts and round-ups, particularly when doing the end-of-year, is that our Medical students tend to prefer quiet space for studying. This past year, the Hirsh Library has exponentially increased the amount of available study space on the 7th floor – the quietest of the study floors – and then this happened. That March bar corresponds rather well with 2nd years preparing for their Step exams, too.

Is this a direct causation, or a happenstance correlation? As much as I’d like to say it’s causation, I’m cautious about claiming that. Then again, as the movie Field of Dreams once said, “Build it and they will come.” So who knows!

For the record, we’ve also recorded a drop-off for PA, PHPD, and MBS from October to March. But we’re seeing people from the other Tufts programs and all our various other affiliates here in larger numbers. Remember that everybody in the Tufts Community is welcome here all the same! Hirsh is for all of you.

Now the best way to see how good my guess about the extra study space is, of course, is to do something like, say, look at which floors were the busiest. But I’d have to have all that data handy and be able to put it in a totally different chart.

 

Good. News.

Click to en-full-size-en

Okay. Full disclosure: I always knew it would look like this. The 7th floor is crazy popular. We collect data year-round (which I will be discussing in a post a few months from now, for an end-of-year wrap-up), and one thing I have noticed is that the 7th floor is consistently twice the populous of any other floor. Twice! Which makes sense when you stop and think about it: it’s got the most of all kinds of study space, and is somehow still the quietest floor of the lot.

I think I speak for everyone here when I say: I’m glad you like it so much!

That’s all for now. Good luck with the remainder of your exams, and I’ll see you back here this summer for the big wrap up, when I talk about some interesting numbers (like busiest days) and how this year stacks up against years past!

-Tom-

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Hello! Do you like to study? No? But you like it when you can check out chargers and stuff earlier/later than normal, right? Especially when you have to study? What if there’s also free coffee?

There we go.

Good news! The Hirsh Health Sciences Library will be having another three weekends of Extended Hours this spring, so you will have more time to check materials out and get help on the weekends!

On the following weekends, the desk on the 4th floor will be open 10am – 10pm:

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photo-1752164/

Saturday, April 6th
Sunday, April 7th

Saturday, April 20th
Sunday, April 21st

Saturday, May 4th
Sunday, May 5th

 

We will also have free coffee for you all on the Saturdays! The coffee is scheduled to show up at 6pm, so so you can come take a quick study break and commiserate while you caffeinate.
Just so you know: this only applies to the staffed desk. The building itself has its normal operating hours, so you can still stay until midnight as normal.

If you have any questions you can feel free to swing by the desk on the 4th floor or call us at 617-636-6706. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you those three weekends!

Happy Studying!

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