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Friday, November 22, 2013

Usage stats

One of the things I love about this project, besides the actual relationship between library use and student success, is just that finally we are consistently tracking usage numbers from semester to semester. We have four semesters of data so far, and as you might expect, just the numbers alone reveal some interesting trends. For example, in the 13-15 areas we are tracking library use, usage of the library is trending upwards:

Of course, for some library transaction types we count frequencies in a unique way, and these numbers do not represent actual usage numbers, but in the way we count (essentially front-door access increments) the numbers are climbing. That can be seen as a good sign. However, where are we seeing the biggest increases? If you guessed digital resource access numbers, you have guessed correctly.

These numbers represent initial point of access numbers for databases, ebooks, and ejournals, and logins to our library website. Databases, ebooks, and ejournals are definitely being used more from semester to semester, while library web site logins are remaining relatively consistent.

Of course, this probably comes as no surprise, but people at the University of Minnesota are using our digital resources more and more, and the trend line seems to be climbing. It will be interesting to monitor these numbers in coming semesters, and compare them with other traditional library use types.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Do undergrads consider libraries important?

Our colleague Krista Soria has been busy--amazingly busy--analyzing data from the SERU (Student Experience in the Research University) survey to determine factors which correlate to how undergrad's rate the importance of libraries and research.

The data show areas of success and areas of opportunity--including targeting service development and promotion efforts, working more closely with student services including career services, aligning with programs that facilitate faculty sponsored research and more. This article deserves a read....

Here is the citation:
Soria, K.M., Factors Predicting the Importance of Libraries and Research Activities for Undergraduates, The Journal of Academic Librarianship (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2013.08.017 [Article in Press]

Here are few highlights:

  • Female undergraduates are significantly (p < .05) less likely to place importance upon libraries and research as male undergraduates.
  • Hispanic students, Asian students, international students, and students from an unknown or other racial identity place significantly (p < .05) more importance upon libraries and research than their peers.
  • Students from lower income families placed significantly greater (p < .05) value upon libraries and research compared with their peers from higher income families.
  • Transfer students were significantly (p < .05) more likely to perceive libraries and research activities as important than native students
  • Students enrolled in an arts or humanities, business, education, and health or physical fitness majors placed a significantly (p < .05) lower importance on academic libraries and research


  • "The inferential results of this study suggest several factors are positively associated with the importance students place upon academic libraries and research activities at research universities. These areas are among those that hold the greatest potential for library staff to leverage in garnering support for ongoing activities, future development and growth, and increased prioritization within the larger organization."
  • "Conversely, the presence of some student groups who view libraries and research activities as significantly less important than their peers beckons future inquiries into the reasons these students do not value libraries and research with as much importance as their peers."
  • "Finally, it is encouraging that students who have developed library and research skills place greater value upon libraries and research activities, as do students who are more satisfied with libraries and research opportunities."