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This past October, from the 19th to the 25th, we ran our semi-annual School Affiliation statistics again. This time around, we were able to keep it away from a major exam block, and we also grabbed the circulation data for that time to make sure we got the best picture of the week. Since it was shorter than last time, this post will be relatively quick. But hopefully you’ll still find it interesting!

First thing is first: how many people were in the library that week? Well, we counted a total of 3,230 people that week, 695 of which were here on Wednesday alone. You can see the breakdown below.

Now, what you’re probably really wondering is how that breaks down by school, right? The answer is rather interesting. Namely, it breaks down (by floor, even!) thus:

You may notice that everyone loves the 7th floor, and that the Dental school in particular loves the ever-loving-fillings out of it. It’s worth noting that they had some exams that week, which helps explains their numbers. But what’s interesting in that graph is that you can see what kind of exams they were – the kind that required solo study (notice that the quiet floors had the majority of them). In fact, this survey seems skewed toward quieter studying. I look forward to finding out what differences there are come Spring – does April encourage more group study than October? Or was it pure chance that these number shook out this way?

Of course, what’s most fascinating is when you compare the above graph with the circulation one below, and see the full picture:

It can be a little tricky to tell due to scale there, but Medical actually checked out the most that week, followed by Nutrition, and then Dental. It seems that the Dental students were really here for the studying, not the circulation. And the Medical students were most likely checking things out and then going back to the individual study rooms or learning commons – essentially showing up on one set of statistics but not the other. Although Nutrition really made the interesting difference – the circulation number is actually higher than what we counted!

This is why the middle and bottom graphs are uneven when compared to one another – people just simply move around. The library supplies space and materials, but they don’t always get used at the same time.

That wraps it up for this time. We could, of course, look at these numbers from a dozen different directions, but maybe we can save that for the next time. After all – it’s only November.

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Now that we are approaching the end of summer and creeping closer to the fall start of all of our various programs here on the Boston Campus, we here at Hirsh thought it could be a bit enlightening to take a quick look back at some of the statistics we collected from the last academic year.

A good place to start on things like this is with the broad numbers, and then narrow our way down. This past year, we counted 116,521 visitors to our library and circulated items 26,700 times! That’s fantastic! Frankly, we expect the next year to be even busier, because we keep getting new items and re-examining ways to use what we already have; all geared toward assisting you, our patrons (keep your eyes peeled here for those announcements!).

But you may find yourself wondering what the busiest months were for Hirsh. Well that’s easy enough to share. For instance: in terms of total visitors counted in our library, April was far and above the busiest month at 14,576 people. In fact, the busiest day of the year for our seating was April 9, when we counted 1,007 people here! Here, take a look at our month by month breakdown:

Kind of wild, huh? The jump from August to September is crazy (more than doubled!), but what I found really interesting was how busy we got in the fall when compared to the Spring. That right there is the difference between exams for classes and the dreaded Boards (plus, you know…class exams that let you graduate).

How does this match up against our Circulation statistics, though? Well, take a look yourself:

Fewer people come to the desk than come to the library as a whole. That’s just the natural way of things. During the year, the amount of people checking things out vs using the library space at all fluctuated between 17.5% and 38%, but in general stayed around 22% – just between 1/5 and 1/4 of everyone coming here.

As you can plainly see, the circulation stats follow the same general pattern of the overall counts, but don’t quite mirror them. In fact, in terms of circulation, October was actually the busiest month, with 3,095 checkouts.

Interestingly, though, October is only the busiest month for the desk. The busiest individual day was actually April 8th, at 220 checkouts even. Second busiest? April 9th, with 205. In fact, April accounts for six of the busiest ten circulation days in the last academic year. March and December split the remaining four spots equally. And despite being the busiest month, October doesn’t even appear on the busiest days list until spot number fifteen.

Go figure.

What most likely accounts for that is the way exams are spread out. During the fall, it’s steady – one a week, two a week, so on and so forth. But April is final exams, which all get packed up into the beginning of the month, where all six of those days came from. Then it falls off and gets quieter (although not Summer quiet). So April’s a bit more of a flash in the pan than October.

Finally, I leave you with these last two bits of information: when we’re busiest at the Service Desk, by weekday and by hour. So if you were ever wondering about the quietest times to come borrow books and equipment, now you’ll know!

(Hint: not during lunch mid-week)

Have a good summer, and we’ll see you soon!

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For the first two weeks of April, staff here at the Hirsh Library walked around and asked everyone what school they were from.  Well, we have tallied some of the results of all of that work, and have uncovered some interesting numbers!

Over the course of 13 days and 39 rounds of asking, we talked to 6,884 people. Ultimately, 2,539 of those people were from the Dental school, making that the most populous group we had in the library – a full 37% of the population of Hirsh! Medical came in at a close second of 2,373 people (a difference of a mere 166!), followed by the combined Sackler schools (PA, PHPD, and MBS) at 1,360, with Friedman rounding out at 347. The remainder was made up by staff from the Tufts Medical Center, the HNRCA, Tufts students, staff, and faculty from the other campuses, and even affiliated hospitals and schools in the Boston area. You can see the breakdown here.

Now, that’s interesting data, but what does it all mean? After all, we were counting 4 times a day, so a question some people may have is “Which time was the busiest, ultimately?” Well, the answer will…probably not surprise you at all. It turns out people are much more into early lunches than they are late nights:

Anyone who spends any time around the students of the different schools knows that everyone has different needs and wants when it comes to studying and getting ready for exams. It reasonably follows to assume that it means that people gravitate toward different environments – some might study better when there’s a bit of background noise, or do better in groups, whereas other people need to be alone with their books, notes, and a coffee. So which school tends to be full of which kind of person?

To begin with, it seems as though the 7th floor is the most popular floor amongst all the schools, as you can see here:

But the only way to get the full story is to keep going and see if you can pick out the personality types. Well, far and away it’s clear that Medical students are fans of quiet. Specifically, the quiet the 7th floor provides. Although, as you can see, it looks like if space is at a premium on that floor, people will start on the 6th and slowly work their way back down again.

The Dental school, however, appears to encourage people to look for slightly different environments. Unfortunately, we don’t have data linking school affiliation to type of seating they chose (study carrel, study room, group table, etc), but it may be a safe bet to assume that Tufts’ future dentists are by and large fans of small group study, and gravitated toward the study rooms and classrooms.

But what about Sackler? Well, it would appear that the combined programs of PA, PHPD, and MBS were mainly looking for a (relatively) quiet space to claim as their own, but that wouldn’t be quite the proper story. We unfortunately don’t have a breakdown of those three programs (vs. the “Sackler” umbrella), but it’s worth keeping in mind that the 6th floor has a very convenient classroom, and that the 7th floor has quite a multitude of small group study rooms. Perhaps those in the Sackler school are straddling a line somewhere between the Dental and Medical students.

Which brings us, last but certainly not least, to Friedman students, who were not content to be quiet and alone up on the 6th and 7th floors. The students from the Friedman School of Nutrition much preferred the hustle and bustle of the 4th and 5th floors to the quiet and solitude of the others, and showed it unequivocally during the two weeks of our survey.

Ultimately, with the sheer amount of data we collected (and continue to collect in other ways), it’s easy to get the answer to almost any question we may have. But the main question – the most important one that drives all of our programs and future planning at the library – is “What is it our patrons need?” Thanks to everyone’s participation in surveys and questionnaires like this one, we know that study space (and access to plugs in said study space) is absolutely vital, and we know who might be most likely to use what facilities. We’ve been learning other lessons, but today, that one is one that stands above the others.

We will continue to do surveys like this one (although perhaps not during final exams) so that we can fine tune our answers and respond to the changing needs of our community in the future.

So on behalf of the staff here at Hirsh Health Sciences Library, I would like to thank you for bearing with us and helping us learn how to serve you better. Every little bit that we can do helps, and we can’t do it without you.

PS: if you were wondering how checkouts lined up during this time period, well…it’s fairly safe to say that the need for skulls swung that pendulum in a rather specific way.

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