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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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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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It is April of 2016, which means now is a great time to look at the Hirsh Library School Affiliation Survey from March and see how it compares to the one from October. Let’s get started!

School Total

First thing is first: PHPD has rocked up in numbers! Dental has traditionally been the most frequently counted school in this survey, but this is the first time that Medical has been dethroned as 2nd place. And look at the number differences: The difference from first to second place is 21 people, and the difference of second to third is 15. That’s ridiculous! We are very busy people here at HHSL.

“But Tom, what about Circ this time around? Does that match up to what we’re seeing here?” Oh, of course not. As you can see here:

Circ

Medical keeps their hold on the highest circulation of the week. However, what’s truly interesting is the strong showing of the PHPD programs and Nutrition. Look at those numbers! As someone whose whole job revolves around circulation at this library, it’s very exciting to see the growing interest in all programs across the board.

It is, generally, at this point that I go and show you something like a breakdown of the schools by floor. And therefore, I’m going to do that right now!Floors

The 7th floor is, undoubtedly, the monarch of the floors. Look at that. Medical, Dental (by a massive margin) and Sackler/PHPD programs (by a smaller but still strong margin) all love themselves the 7th floor. I still find it interesting, though, that for Dental it’s 7th and then 5th, but for Medical it’s 7th and then 6th. A difference in study habits, perhaps – Dental students might be more interested in group rooms, whereas the Medical students are looking for singular study spaces (like small tables and study carrels). It would account for the 7th floor’s popularity with both, and then the difference in second favorite.

Nutrition seems to be much more interested in being able to talk – the openness of the 5th floor (and its collaboration rooms), followed by the room-heavy 7th.

And this is where we run into a limitation with the way we’ve been doing this survey: combining PA, PHPD, MBS, and Sackler all into one category. We know that the MBS program has been growing each year, and we know that the PA program has been growing. And PHPD encapsulates a number of other degree programs. Sadly, until now, I haven’t been able to distinguish between them when looking at this survey.

Going forward, however, I’ll be able to! We’re working on some back-end adjusting of how we collect all of this data, so that way we can be much more accurate across the board while going forward. After all, accuracy leads to knowledge, and knowledge is what we’re striving for here! I’m not sure anyone at HHSL was quite prepared for the way our numbers have exploded over the last couple years, so we’re playing a bit of catch-up in a few areas to make sure we can still serve the needs of our entire community!

But you’re probably wondering how March measures up against our October Affiliation count. It looks something like this:

Schools 2

It looks a lot like that! That’s surprising, kind of. Right? I mean, that is a lot of people. A. Lot. I find it interesting that Medical and Dental jumped so high (Boards and the infamous Dental Exam Block probably had a bit to do with that), but the PHPD programs dropped a little, and Nutrition bumped up slightly. Now what about the floors? How do those look?

Floors 2

They look busy is what they look like. Every single floor got busier! This, of course, comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody – it’s a well known fact that we’re busier in the spring than the fall (fun fact! Currently, October is the busiest month, followed by March, and February. April is traditionally the outright busiest of the year, however, so we’ll have to see how things turn out). But still, it’s kind of cool to see that each floor went up by just about the same proportion across the board. That’s ridiculous. That’s not supposed to happen in the real world! And yet, here we are.

Finally, we have the weekdays:

Weekdays

As you may have realized by now, I deal with a ton of statistics during the year. The red bars you see above most closely resemble the regular, month-by-month bell curve of how busy each day of the week is. The busiest day of the week might shift a bit between Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but in general? It looks like that. Like a bell curve. But the blue! October did something unique, and dipped right in the middle of the week.

It’s worth noting: neither of these weeks had any major exams, and neither week had any holidays. They were chosen for both of those reasons. Perhaps that Wednesday in October was unseasonably nice, and everyone just really needed to be outside? Can’t say I blame them.

So there you have it! Our Affiliation Stats round-up. I’m already looking forward to doing some of the year-end numbers, and finding out just how crazy busy HHSL has been in the 2015-2016 academic year.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go look at something other than Excel for a few hours. Perhaps a few days.

Tom

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