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Usage stats in the for-profit college library

March 27, 2012

When I first came on board I actually ran daily circ stats.  I know, I can’t believe it either.  🙂

Now I run quarterly reports and I run quite a lot of them.  I remember that I was always so disappointed with our circ stats and quite honestly our database stats aren’t that much better.  What that says to me?  Faculty aren’t creating enough assignments with library resources in mind.  But that’s another post…

This post is really just a list of the stats I run.  Next week (or maybe later this week) I hope to put up a post talking about what I do with those numbers once I get them.  So here they are:

Circulation reports – I want to know as much as possible, who, what, where, when, how…. well maybe not how, but still as much as I can.  I run these reports from the patron and from the material.  What I mean is are their classifications of books that get more circulation then others as well as if there are groups of patrons that circulate more.

Collection reports – every quarter I run a list of everything the library has purchased, cataloged, and/or weeded.  I check to see how much material I have purchased for each academic program and other collection categories.

Usage reports not in ILS – everything that happens in the library and cannot be done in another location gets tracked.  Study room use, computer log ins, tutoring hours, those are normal.  This would also cover database usage which really has been getting steadily higher in our school, YEAH!  Everything else I count based on the library as the “third space”.  We have a common printer in the library, if a student comes into the library to pick up a print job from the classroom I count that as library use.  Students hangin’ out and having lunch – library use.  Taking a nap in one of our cool chairs – library use.  The last stat that is covered here are reference interviews and again, I define these rather loosely.

Research doesn’t really happen in our library.  Oh, we answer plenty of questions and we do ready reference, but the interview process doesn’t happen here very often – at least not in a traditional sense.  So I track reference questions or instruction as any interaction with a patron where a process must be explained.  If I (or a member of our team) needs to sit next to a student while they work on formatting problems in their report, that is counted as instruction.  I have met a few librarians that have turned their nose up at this though I’m not sure why.  To my administration these interactions are just as important as questions answered at a formal reference desk.  In fact maybe more so and it certainly gives a more clear picture of what we are doing all day.

Sign-in sheets are the last bit and still part of usage really.  Our library has workshops that run every day.  They are quick 30-40 minute instruction opportunities on a variety of topics.  They cover research, computer basics, resume building, portfolio management, professional social networking, etc.  We recently did a workshop on our foreign language database Mango with the Career Services department that was pretty successful.

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