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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s been a little bit since my last post on Hirsh Library Statistics, which means it’s time again! So pour your favorite caffeinated beverage, grab a plate of free food (statistically speaking, there’s free food somewhere in this building right now), and relax as I offer you some numbers and information that you will not be tested on.
What a relief, right?
So, first up: we’ve actually held relatively steady this year as compared to last year, in terms of circulation and head counts. This probably comes as a surprise to everyone who has only been busier every year (I know I have), but there are always environmental factors to account for. For instance, if everyone’s using ebooks, they don’t need to check things out of Reserve, and in the numbers it looks like we’ve gone down. But our Open Workshops, librarian consultations, and even on the fly assistance at the Service Desk have all been super busy. So I want you to keep that in mind as you read on: everything requires a grain of salt.
Also to keep in mind, these numbers will be from July 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018. The most interesting ones are smack in the center of the school year, though. For instance: our single busiest circulation day of the year was October 4th, when we were averaging a checkout every 5 minutes. That’s nutty! And that doesn’t account for all of the research assistance, troubleshooting, or item returns.
Of the top 10 spots for busiest Circulation day of the year, 4 are in October (which accounts for the top 3 spots), 3 are in September, and then the remainder is split between November, February, and March (there was a tie for #10).
Yes, that’s right. February. February! Here, let me shock you: This year, the busiest month was October, at 3412 checkouts. Second place went to September at 2983, but the shocker is February as third place and 28868. Third! I’m glad that you all love our library so much more than the cold February weather, because dang.
Okay, so that’s the overall look of things. The blue bars are the total numbers of times we’ve checked things out, and the red bars are the total numbers of people we’ve counted in the library. Things to know: the blue bars do not count the number of people, just number of checkouts (we don’t have a way to count number of people who have checked things out). And the red bars require staff to physically walk around, so there’s an element of human error in there. But still, what a snapshot!
You may also notice that October, while still very full, was actually not the top spot in seating counts. That honor goes to March, and my best guess would be “exam season.” But October cinched its second place spot, followed (again!) by February in third. Each one of those months is over 12,000 people sitting in the library, by the way. And in case you’re wondering, October did have the single busiest day for those, at 2,590 people on the 29th. February comes in second place here, with 1,057.
Dang, what a month.
Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. “Tom, what about all those times we were asked what program we were with? What’s the deal with that?” Well good news, I have the deal with that!
For those who might not remember: HHSL staff walked around a few times a day, 7 days in the month of October and again in March, in an effort to find out how much the various programs use our library space, and we got some neat data. Behold!
That’s a whole lot of people. That top chart focuses on the day of the week of a given count, and the bottom compares each program. I find that shift from being busier earlier in the week to being busier in the latter half rather interesting, although I don’t know if I can find a particular reason for it. Timing of exams, perhaps?
The second chart has my attention, however. Look at some of those numbers! I wonder what happened with the PHPD and MBS numbers, though. I do know that their exams did not quite line up with our counts the way that Dental and Medical’s did, so if I had to guess I’d say that it was just an issue of two or three weeks. Crazy how much of a difference that makes!
Finally, I will leave you with this chart, which goes to show just how much people love the 7th floor. Fun fact about this one: when you look at the numbers, the 7th floor is consistently twice as populated as any other floor. No wonder some people have trouble finding study cubicles – they’re always full!
If you want to get a little deeper into this all, or have any questions about it, I am at the the HHSL Service Desk five days a week, and am always happy to talk shop. Otherwise, I hope you’re all enjoying the weather, and I look forward to seeing what the next year brings us!
You may have noticed some new things in the library when you came back for the semester. And if you haven’t…why not go check them out?
On the 4th floor, we converted some empty bookshelves into a high counter like the one on the other side of the floor. There are power outlets built in to the top of the counter, so you can pull up a seat for lunch and stay there all afternoon.
Over at the Library Service Desk, we have new touchscreen monitors that will make your interactions at the Desk even easier. These were purchased with a Jay Daly Technology Grant that we were awarded by North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc, which is our local chapter of the Medical Library Association.
And just up the stairs on the 5th floor, we have some exciting new furniture! We relocated a number of small tables and installed 10 Brody WorkLounges, which have been receiving rave reviews from our colleagues at other libraries. The Brodys are designed to help minimize distractions and keep your body supported in an optimal position for focusing. Each one has built-in power and a storage shelf where you can tuck away your belongings and focus on your work.
You can let us know what you think or give us suggestions for things you’d like to see in the library by emailing us at email@example.com. We always welcome your feedback!
Hello everyone! It’s been a bit since the last time I did an annual round-up of the data I have for the library, and I thought it was high time to do another one. Especially given how much things have changed these last few years. And what interesting changes!
First thing is first, of course: what were the fullest days in the library this past year? There are actually two answers! On both December 6th and April 4th we counted 950 people sitting in the library. 950! That’s nuts! A neat side fact: both of those days are Tuesdays, and both were the Tuesday after the second weekend of Extended Hours in their respective semester. Either blind chance was on our side those days, or Tufts is big on keeping the same exam style no matter what. Go figure.
See that purple there? That’s the 7th floor. It was twice as busy as the 6th floor. Twice! We counted people 35,000 times on the 7th floor this last year! The others don’t even come close. Obviously, part of this can be explained by the fact that we added so much new furniture last year, but that’s not the entire story. I think it’s safe to say that students around here just really like their quiet space to study.
“But Tom,” you ask, “how do these kinds of numbers compare with past years?” Well I’m glad you asked that, HHSL Blog Reading Person, because I have an answer for you! The chart below is the total number of people we’ve counted in the library, by month, over the last 4 years.
The purple would be this year. It looks like a lot, but you can see the same sort of wave formation every single year – we start off slow in the summer, get busy in the fall, slow down in the winter (we only get about half of December’s days counted due to the break, and January starts off slowly anyway), and then the whole thing picks back up in time for all the exams, only to slow back down in June.
What does this tell us, then? Well, we’ve been busy. We’ve been very busy. As you can see, everything sort of spiked back in 2014-2015, but this year was consistently busier than the year before it. July and August were the exceptions, but I’m certain that March and April more than make up for those.
Seeing these numbers go up and down over the years presents an interesting thought challenge: why do they fluctuate so much? Well, a little of it is human error, a little bit is due to changes in how we collect this data, a little of it is the way the programs on campus have been changing and adapting (which means the student body has been adapting), and part of it is sheer environmental factors. Snow days, for instance, or the way holidays fall – if we’re closed, we won’t be counting anybody!
“Okay Tom, I see. How about circulation? Surely human error is minimized when you have a program doing all your counting for you.”
You would be right. And you’re about to really enter the head-scratcher.
Somehow we were insanely full this year, while also having our second slowest year of checkouts since we started collecting these numbers this way. We have a ton of new resources for you, but circulation is down? Let me share the secret answer: the Internet. HHSL is constantly searching out new digital books, journals, and databases for everyone on campus, which means our physical books are not in as high demand as they used to be. So while the overall circulation is down, what is circulating is getting checked out like mad – for instance, our phone chargers alone registered 8,000 checkouts this year. The busiest year yet for them!
In case you were curious (I know you were) the most checkouts we had in a single day was 210 checkouts, which belongs to Wednesday, October 5th. 9 out of the 10 busiest circulation days were in the fall (with February 27th clocking in at #7). That particular information doesn’t really tell us much, but it’s fun to know all the same.
For the record, “busiest circulation day” is only in reference to amounts of checkouts (and subsequent check-ins) in a given day. It doesn’t count all of the times that librarians have a consultation with someone to help with research, or the times that the library staff at the Service Desk troubleshoot or help you find articles, or all the direction given, or printing problems fixed, or on-the-fly assistance with programs like EndNote…it’s a helpful metric, but it’s not the full story. Heck, it’s missing the craft events! You can’t have a complete picture without those.
All of these numbers are pieces to a puzzle, and it’s one we’re always working on here. You’re looking at a few pieces of it, but there are always more to add. And we’re always looking for more of those pieces, be it anything mentioned above or be it School Affiliation data. So as we enter the 2017-2018 year, keep your eye open for people walking around with clipboards and say hi! And who knows, maybe you’ll be part of one of these charts in the future.
You’ve probably noticed a number of changes to the seating in the library over the past few months! This spring, we spent a lot of time looking at how you use our space and thinking about what we can do to improve it. Overall, two main goals emerged: to add more standing work spaces and more individual study spaces.
Here’s a floor-by-floor update on everything we’ve done:
We transformed unused journal shelves into a standing height counter and bought some high stools to make the space flexible. We added extra power outlets to the walls and you’ll also find a new device charging station with cords for all your devices at the far left edge of the counter. And if the seating area now looks a bit empty, it’s because we have a bunch of chairs out getting reupholstered! They’ll be back soon.
Continuing with our quest to add standing workspaces, we built a counter on the 5th floor and put two of our public computers on it. There are outlets at counter-height so you can charge your devices while you work. We also added a standing desk like the ones on the 6th and 7th floors.
There weren’t any major changes to the 6th floor, but we rearranged the furniture a bit and added a second standing desk as well as 8 new study carrels!
Since the 7th floor is a quiet study floor, it made sense to replace a number of the tables in the open study area with carrels for individual study. We added 40 new carrels total. 12 of them replaced older style carrels and the rest are brand new study spots. And we purchased new chairs to go with all of them!
We also undertook a redistribution of furniture in the study rooms. We systematically went through every room and tried to rearrange the furniture in a way that made most sense—this mostly boiled down to making sure that each room had an appropriate number of chairs.
Let us know what you think! We always want to hear your ideas.
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