People drawn to the library profession generally want to work in lively settings with lots of contact with library clientele. We’ve been distressed for a number of years by falling numbers for one of our key indicators — our door count. The client count is taken automatically each time time someone goes through our exit turnstile and is recorded on a monthly and then annual basis. Until recently the annual counts have been more or less steadily declining (although not as fast as our book circulation numbers but that is a topic of its own).
The reasons for the declining counts are many and have affected other academic libraries as well. Among the most significant is the ongoing movement away from paper and to digital resources which can be accessed without visiting libraries at all. At Trecker, an additional factor has been the physical condition of the library which hardly has been an inducement for someone to want to come and, especially, to spend time here.
A post on this blog from a year ago, “New Furnishings Arrive”, signaled the fact that the University Libraries, with support from the University administration, was making a significant effort to improve the Trecker Library. To make it, if you will, a “destination” for comfortable research and study, and not just a place to visit when required to do so.
In the interim between October and now, another round of equipment (some of it reported in “Time to Collaborate” below) and furnishings has been completed.
How have these upgrades been received? We are looking forward to what we hope will be positive responses to questions about our “library as place” as part of a significant satisfaction survey being conducted by the Libraries this fall. For now, though, we have already received some very good news about the door counts mentioned above: Our 2009-10 counts are 33% higher than the same time period last year! For us, given the door count’s history here , this is very exciting news indeed.
There is, of course, a downside to such a fantastic increase in usage: more noise, fewer available seats, occasional waiting for SuperHomer computers, and so forth. Rest assured, though, that we are already planning for improvements to alleviate some of those situations. In the meantime, please continue to visit the library. Your presence here is what “makes our day” in so many ways.
Bill Uricchio — Library Director