Each semester the library compares the rate of circulation by academic department. This rate is calculated by taking the number of books that are identified as being put of a particular department’s subject areas and dividing that number into the total circulations (number of times checked out) for those titles. For example, Department X has 5,000 books, and 27 books are checked out. Thus, the circulation rate for Department X is calculated at 0.76%.
The Summer semester is usually a very slow time for the library, so we were surprised to see that the Math and Science Departments both showed an increase in the percentage of books circulated in the Summer semester as compared with the Spring semester. This was most evident in the Math Department; its circulation rates zoomed from 0.15% to 0.82%.
Looking more closely at actual circulation numbers makes things even more confusing. While the percentage of circulation for the Math Department quadrupled, the actual circulation went up by 67%. The Science Department’s percentage of circulation went up slightly (0.03%) but it’s actual circulation dropped by more than half!
What’s the cause you may ask? Careful, purposeful, and much needed weeding. The Math collection was reduced by 69% and the Science collection was reduced by 59% over the summer. There are fewer books to choose from, but the books that are on the shelf are accurate, up-to-date, and reflect the college curricula.
The chart below illustrates the weeding that was accomplished this summer; the departments include Justice / Legal Studies, Business, Counseling / Psychology / Social Work, and Education. Applied Sciences, HPER, and Music have also been weeded, and English / Humanities, Social Sciences, and Visual / Performing Arts are up next.
We will continue to monitor these statistics and others to insure that our collections are the best that they can be for our students, faculty, staff, and community.