It’s that time of the year

No, no, not what you’re thinking.  It’s time for the annual A&SC report to the library on how we did on our goals last year and what our goals are for the next.  Since this is done via a presentation to any library employees that want to attend and that meeting is Weds afternoon, today was time to get the compiling done.

And in compiling achievements, our list got a little long.  It’s currently at 10 pages but hopefully not growing much more than that: we’ve only one small section to add.  We won’t bore you with all of it, well not in one sitting anyhow, but let’s share one piece of information right now.  The value of this?  Not sure.  But maybe it will give you a little bit of insight into how our reference desk works.  (Thanks, MC, for grabbing these numbers.)

How people contact us initially with reference requests:

  • Email/webform requests: 48.1%
  • In-person requests: 36.3%
  • Mail: 1%
  • Phone requests: 14.6%

So what’s this mean?  Maybe nothing earth-shaking.  We’re a little surprised by the high percentage of initial requests coming from people who come in the doors as opposed to calling first: we’ve been worried about how the campus parking situation and our limited hours may affect accessibility but this might suggest it isn’t something we need worry about, that people are finding it easy to get to us.  Or we could be just reading this entirely wrong and it means something altogether different and we just haven’t figured out what it is yet.  The email percentage is no surprise since many of the people who use our materials are contacting us from out of state.  And we have no idea what to make of the mail percentage.  Is that high?  Low? Will it vary from year to year? 

Since this is only the second year that we’ve gathered these statistics and because we’re still refining what we gather and how, it’s difficult to make assessments based on them at this time.  But hopefully in a few more years when we can look at year-to-year comparisons, maybe we’ll spot some trends.  And hopefully those trends will allow us to provide better service to our users.   Which is, of course, one of main goals going onto that list for the next year.  Onward and upward.

About aschmuland

I'm head of Archives & Special Collections at the Consortium Library. I've been with A&SC since 2002, first as reference archivist, now as head of the department.

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