While all University Library locations are closed to the public in accordance with the “stay-at-home” order, the Ask a Librarian virtual reference service continues to support students, faculty, and the broader user community. Data show that the Ask a Librarian service answered 201 chats during spring break 2020 (March 14-22) – a 100% increase compared to spring break 2019. During the first week after classes resumed online (March 23), the Ask a Librarian service answered 252 chats, which marks the busiest week since October 2019.
Usage of library electronic resources has increased after the university began alternative online course delivery. Based on the year-to-date data, the highest daily transactions by faculty/staff and students were both recorded on Monday, March 30th. There were 2,989 EZproxy transactions initiated by Illinois students and 2,419 transactions initiated by Illinois faculty and staff.
Since September 2019, the Library has been using Splunk (a large scale data analysis tool) to process EZProxy logs in order to record the aggregate use of electronic resources by off-campus users. From September to December 2019, 33% of faculty as well as 32% of students have accessed the library resources from off-campus. The graph below shows the percentage of students who accessed resources from off-campus for each college. The top colleges/schools are the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, iSchool, the College of Education, and the School of Social Work.
The data analysis and visualization of usage logs would not be possible without extensive work by the Library IT, especially Jon Gorman and Jason Colwell.
As part of the Undergraduate Library’s 50th Anniversary celebration, we asked students to write down what they liked about the UGL. Overwhelmingly students said they loved the UGL as a place to be with friends (Social Spaces, 25%) and to study (22%).
The University Library recorded 322,962 initial circulations during Fiscal Year 2019, which shows a 2% increase from Fiscal Year 2018 (316,273). Academic libraries use “initial circulations,” which does not include reserves and loanable technology or e-book usage, as an important metric to assess the use of a physical collection. During FY18, the Library recorded the second highest number of initial circulations among BTAA libraries (#8 among 116 ARL university libraries).
A “Reference Question” is defined as an “information contact that involves the knowledge or use of one or more information sources by library staff” (ISO 2789). While many academic libraries have reported a decline in reference services for the last decade, these continue to be important at the University Library. During the fiscal year 2018, the library provided the most reference and consultation interactions (62,868) among all BTAA libraries and more than many other peer institutions (#14 of 116 ARL university libraries).
How do Illinois faculty value the University Library and the librarians and staff? The 2019 faculty survey found that 63% of the faculty participated in the survey felt that the librarians and the library contribute to student success. The faculty also highly valued that the library “Pays for the resources they need” (94%), “Supports graduate research” (82%) and “Supports undergraduate education” (79%).
For more information about the survey, please visit https://www.library.illinois.edu/staff/assessment/libsurv/ithaka-sr-faculty-survey-2019-faq/.
The library conducted a faculty survey in spring 2019 and found a considerable increase (19%) in the importance of undergraduate library instruction. 79% of the Illinois faculty who participated in the survey viewed the function of “The library helps undergraduates develop research, critical analysis, and information literacy skills” to be important/extremely important. In 2013, only 60% of the participants valued the undergraduate library instruction as important.
For more information about the survey, please visit https://www.library.illinois.edu/staff/assessment/libsurv/ithaka-sr-faculty-survey-2019-faq/ .
A survey conducted in fall 2018 by the Library shows that 97% of the undergraduate students surveyed have physically visited the library. 42% said they prefer studying/working in a campus library more than in other types of buildings. 52% identified with this statement: “When I am in a campus library building, I feel that I belong.”
For more information about the survey, please visit https://odos.illinois.edu/assessment/pulse/2018/library/ and https://go.library.illinois.edu/undergrad.