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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!   



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…



Hi all,

Thank you for your time and help in collecting data for the affiliation survey, we truly appreciate it! This survey is what helps us get funding to make the library as helpful as possible to you lovely patron. Onto the statistics!


The 7th floor is our most popular floor with more than twice the number of visitors that our other floors. This data is consistent with the traffic on each floor from October 2021 and March 2022.


Weekday and Time



Monday and Tuesday are our busiest days of the week, which is different from previous surveys where Monday and Thursday were the most popular weekdays. In comparison to previous surveys, Sunday and Monday are more popular than in March 2022 and October 2021. Thursday is a much less popular day than from previous surveys. Some of the evening data for Thursday was lost, so this may also influence the low numbers.


Time of Day

Traffic by time of day has not significantly changed. 3 pm has remained the busiest time of day at the library since October 2021 followed by 11 am.



As with previous years, the dental program is the largest user of the library followed by the medical program. While MBS program usage grew in October 2021 and March 2022, it dropped by more than half this most recent survey. It is unclear why this happened!


In conclusion, the library has bounced back from early COVID-19 numbers! Thanks so much for your patronage. We are happy to be helping you in your academic journey.

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