Libraries are for Use

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

What could I do with 20 extra hours a week?


This past week, I have hired two library student assistants.  This is a first for me, to be solely responsible for interviewing and hiring and training anybody.  While each student has other responsibilities, about half of their time can be spent on tasks that I can assign.  So, this adds up to one part-time worker!  Now, what could I do with essentially 20 extra hours a week?  Here are some ideas:

  • Compare our holdings in specific subject fields with those of our other institutions..
  • Check the rate of ownership of award-winning books by year of award.
  • Analyze the distribution of circulation by subject area, year of publication and patron type and compare it with the distribution of usage of ebooks.
  • Analyze the life-cycle of materials by format (print book, ebook, media), and determining the period to first use and length of “time on shelf” between uses.
  • Compare the items requested via ILL from previous years to determine how many we eventually gain access to.
  • Determine differences in MARC records and other metadata between items used and items not used.
  • Compare the usage of ebooks through different vendors to answer the question, Does platform matter?
  • Conduct a Brief Test of Collection Strength.
  • Conduct a basic descriptive assessment of our media collection.
  • ….I’ve only just begun….
Admittedly, it will take me some time to develop the methods and document the procedures for the assistant to do these tasks.  But these are pretty smart students who have a desire to do well and gain experience.  I, too, look forward to developing some basic managerial and supervision skills and experience.
Although you could say they are only students, I feel a responsibility to mentor each one and provide an introduction to professional librarianship in an academic setting.  Towards that end, I am considering providing a space for students on this blog, in which they could develop their writing skills.  I’d be interested in learning more from them.
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This entry was posted on February 2, 2013 by in Assessment, Collections.
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