Sunday, July 25, 2010

August and September reads from the Book Discussion Group

The MUM Book Discussion Group is back in action for fall! We have our books in place for August and September, and we're hoping to have you join in.

On Wednesday, August 25 we'll discuss Kathyrn Stockett's The Help. You can find an overview of the book at, and then order a copy of the book from a variety of OhioLINK libraries at

As announced earlier this summer, on Tuesday, September 21 we will read Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency as part of Middfest’s Books of Botswana Reading Challenge (see Join this Middletown effort to support Middfest!

Be sure to check our website for upcoming events and to suggest additional titles:

We look forward to having you with us!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

How was the library used in 2009-2010?

As an update to our earlier post on library use through January 2010, here are the full annual stats for several library services. I hope you will find them useful to see how people use the library. How do you compare to the average user of the Gardner-Harvey Library (GHL)?

These stats reflect what's happened this year, running from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. Some stats we keep locally, others we pull from university-wide or OhioLINK-wide systems, and some are provided by database vendors.

Both a Borrower and a Lender Be
- GHL patrons checked out 4,583 books, DVDs, and videos from us (2,262 from our local collection, 1,475 ordered from other MU libraries, and 846 items ordered from OhioLINK - that means that more than half of the items used by campus patrons came from libraries beyond GHL).  We also received 64 articles and 10 books and audiovisual items from libraries worldwide.

- The GHL collection registered 5,925 checkouts (that's the 2,262 items checked out by Middletown patrons above, plus 2,076 items sent to OhioLINK users, 1,418 sent to other MU libraries, and 169 items sent to libraries around the world - that means that more than 60% of the uses of our materials came from libraries beyond GHL).  We also sent 76 periodical articles to libraries worldwide.

- GHL patrons checked out 3,851 reserve items from us (this includes faculty-placed course reserves, textbooks on reserve, laptops, Wii games, and other equipment).

- In addition to the printed or physical materials above, Middletown patrons have downloaded 6,894 e-books from the OhioLINK E-Book Center.

- In terms of building up our collection, Middletown faculty and staff ordered 1,665 items to add to our collection this year.

The Quest for Information
- Middletown patrons have performed 52,931 searches in databases provided to us by Ebsco and those hosted by OhioLINK. Statewide, 52% of database searches are done in Academic Search Complete, and our results are right on that average.

- Middletown patrons downloaded 20,332 full-text articles from the Electronic Journal Center. This is in addition to full-text articles found right within Ebsco or other databases.

- As part of getting to these databases, 54 people visit our web site every day. That's a total of 19,965 visits for the year, by 5,717 unique individuals.

A Place for Work, Study, and Remove from the World
- GHL is open 65 hours per week.

- We average 260 visitors per day, for a total of 75,350 visits this year.

- We regularly schedule the library learning lab (GRD 111) for occasional class sessions. We also had 12 classes meet there weekly during fall semester and 9 met there during this spring. In March 2009 we began scheduling COMPASS placement testing sessions in the lab on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays for incoming Middletown students.

- Our two STAR Lounges have been checked out 338 times this year. STAR Lounge 2 was used weekly by a class for its class meetings in the spring semester.

Helping You Find What You Need
- Inside and outside of the library, we gave library instruction presentations in 80 classes this year, reaching 1435 students.  The courses represented were from 19 different departments.

- Our Blackboard Embedded Librarian program reached students in 43 course sections during the academic year. We have reached over 750 students through the program and helped them with their information needs.

- During calendar year 2009, we did our best to keep track of the questions you asked us at our InfoDesk. Here's what we learned from that tallying:

  • You asked us 5245 questions during the year.

  • That averages out to 19.5 questions per day. This is in addition to more routine, but essential, activities that we didn't count, like checking books out and back in.

  • 19% of those questions came by phone, and 2% through instant-messaging, with the rest in-person (we also get a lot of questions in email, but we did not track those).

  • The topics of those questions were fairly evenly divided, with nearly 20% in each of the categories of research (where to look for articles on X, etc.), technology (how to double space in Word, etc.), circulation (when will the book I requested arrive, etc.), and the ever-popular "other" category.

  • 90% of the questions came between 8:00am and 5:00pm.
What don't we know about how the library is used?
- One key part missing from these figures is off-campus use of library resources: all off-campus use is tallied as MU-wide use, so we do not know how many patrons are using databases from home.

 - We don't have stats for all database searches - we're missing uses of Lexis-Nexis and other databases.

 - We haven't surveyed the campus population at large about their use of our resources and their perception of the quality of our service for some time. We are hoping to offer such a survey in the next academic year, but we hope in the meantime you'll let us know what you think about the library, what you need from us, and what materials we should order for the collection.

On Average
Taking these numbers and guesstimating a total Middletown community of 2500 students, faculty and staff members (and including community patrons), here's what can be said about the average person on campus. She:

- visits the library every nine days.
- checks three items out from the library in a year (reserves and local/MU/OhioLINK collection items)
- performs 21 database searches per year.
- accesses the library web site eight times per year.
- views 2.75 e-books each year.
- participates in a library instruction session at least every other year (if she is a student).

Thanks to everyone for making the library and its resources a vital part of your academic lives!