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The Data is in: What 2023 Can Teach Us About How We Use the Library

By Hannah Herrlich, Emerging Technologies Librarian

We’re more than a month into 2024, so what better time than now to dig up some quantifiable data and use it to fondly analyze 2023. (Does it count as nostalgia if we’re not even a year out?) We’ve discussed already how Fordham Libraries can help make for a better 2024, but what about taking a second to look back on what we did in 2023?

Thanks to our diligent library staff scattered throughout every department and across each of our campuses, we have gathered some never-before-seen library usage statistics that… will… leave… you… SPEECHLESS. Okay, it probably won’t leave you speechless, but it’s still neat to look back and discover something like:

With September marking the beginning of a brand new semester, academic calendar, and college journey for many, it’s no wonder why it also sees the highest circulation rates from the majority of our users.

But not everyone checks out a book each time they come into the library. Plenty of people use the library as a solitary space for study- A refuge away from the hustle and bustle of everyday distractions. And what better sanctuary for silent study or group research meetings than our very own study rooms? Let’s take a look at what were the most popular, or most booked rather, study rooms of 2023 in both Walsh and Quinn Libraries.

After much speculation and careful consideration, the results are in, and the most booked study room of 2023 in Walsh Library goes to…

ROOM 307

Lest we forget to mention it, the most booked study room of the year in Quinn Library, goes to… drumroll please

ROOM 337

Now that we’ve looked at circulation and room reservation activity, it’s time to get back to the basics. So, you’re probably interested to learn that the busiest day of the week in 2023 was

The busiest time of day was

And, the very busiest day of the whole year was

Of course, the Fordham University Libraries consists of hard-working library staff members, plucking away at various library tasks across multiple departments. You will encounter some of these library workers and librarians when you enter the library with a research question in mind and approach the reference desk. Seeking the assistance of a library staff member, outside of a classroom setting, in order to gain insight or guidance about a question (usually one that is research-based), is known as a consultation. And the month(s) with the most consultations is a tie between February and March- Looks like midterms left quite the mark in the Spring 2023 semester!

Beyond consultations, our reference team also provides information services to groups. These are services in which librarians provide information intended for a number of persons. Information service to groups includes information literacy instruction as well as cultural, recreational, or other educational presentations. Though August saw the highest attendance numbers for both in-person and online information services to groups, October was the month in which the most in-person presentations were conducted. And the month with the most virtual reference (Ask a Librarian) questions answered by Fordham librarians? None other than January.

Beyond our public-facing departments is a world of top-secret library dealings and dwellings. We’re kidding, but there is our wonderful cataloging department, responsible for adding new titles and items into our collection, in addition to creating original records and authority records. What this means is that the Head of Cataloging currently has authorization to create or edit a name authority directly into Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), which can then be used by all member libraries. By create, this means that a unique record for a personal name can be created, under which all their works can be linked.

  • The highest number of new titles and new items were added in January.
  • However, the most original records were created in July. 
  • And, the most authority records were created in December. 

In viewing this data, it looks like cataloging was busy year-round (dealing with top-secret library stuff, or otherwise).

Though Fordham Libraries has a lot to offer in our collection, we don’t have everything. For instances in which our student body, faculty, and staff need to obtain research material through connecting institutions, our reliable Interlibrary Loan (ILL) department swoops in to assist. Throughout the years, varying areas of study have received the most ILL requests. And in 2023, the subject that received the highest number of ILL requests submitted by department was… History.

Undoubtedly, the Fordham Libraries has a rich and vast collection of print books and material, but it doesn’t end there. With so many e-books and other electronic resources, you can access a large portion of our catalog anytime and anywhere. When it comes to the e-book collection, there are so many good titles available, and thanks to our serials department, we are able to track the one e-book that was the most used from our Ebsco Ebooks based on unique title requests– And that was… Trauma Systems Therapy for Children and Teens.

In addition to e-books, another great way to utilize our online catalog is through our extensive database collection. Browse through the online databases offered, and you quickly will find that there is a database for just about every subject imaginable. Though each of these databases has something unique to offer, there is one that shines above the rest. Or rather, there was one database that was far and away the most used in 2023, and that was… JSTOR. Between hundreds of academic journals, primary sources, interviews, images, and more, it’s easy to see what makes JSTOR so popular.

Another advantage of our online collection is Digital Reserves. Digital Reserves is a virtual Reserves Desk containing digital copies (accessible on-line) of faculty requested items required for courses. Let’s look at what Digital Reserves looked like in 2023:

Last but not least, we present to you… The Battle of the Finals dun dun dun. Or rather, which Finals period do you think had more visitors in 2023- the spring semester (May) or the fall semester (December)?

The final answer is…


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