he library experienced a strong quarter in terms of both collections and services this quarter, which was simultaneously highly productive and uneventful. Library staffers were "firing on all cylinders" as they met the needs of patrons when contacted, implemented new research tools, developed instructional and support materials and maintained library collections and systems capably.
For the ICE Virtual Library (the first new database the library has added since 2017) the library shifted from trial, to implementation to promotion and user education, with multiple posts appearing in the library's E-newsletter Connections, as well as posts to LinkedIn. The library created not one, but two guides to help users get the most from the database: ICE Virtual Library Quick Start Guide and a guide called ICE Journal Holdings as noted in the spotlight section of this report. The latter was necessary because VDOT's subscription does not include any of the roughly 1,500 eBooks the publisher offers, and only 40 of the 46 eJournals offered. Since the vendor does not allow us to "suppress" those holdings, it is no surprise this was confusing to VDOT patrons.
In cataloging, Gil Kenner helped implement the shift away from EOS's Report Writer module to a new reporting tool called Blue Cloud Analytics (BCA), which we hope will allow us to generate unique and improved views of library activities and operations based on EOS data. As a starting point Kenner will be running quarterly reports on library print circulation and collection usage.
Patron self-service access to databases (as measured in digital document downloads) was 18% above our 5-year average this quarter, and the reference department delivered seven literature searches this quarter (compiled by Rebecca Ernest and Ken Winter), including one for VDOT's Chief Engineer and one for VTRC's Director of Research and Innovation. VDOT leadership increasingly requests literature searches, but that is still infrequent. In the past 5 years, the average number of searches we have delivered in a typical quarter has ranged from 4-5.
Barb Neyman kept Circulation and Interlibrary Loans running smoothly, reporting an unusually high number of materials requests from other libraries, most of which were declined. We often fill only a fraction of such requests, but when the dust settled this quarter, we had received 73 item requests and loaned only 5 items. This will be a trend to monitor going forward, but it is not clear what, if anything, needs to be done about it.
Finally, library staffers Rebecca Ernest and Barb Neyman have done an excellent job of finding new VDOT employees and singing them up for "Virtual Library Cards," as well as discovering separated employees and deleting accounts of those patrons. Both are important activities, and this quarter, as is sometimes the case, there was a lot of onboarding (107 new accounts created), a lot of offboarding (101 accounts deleted) for a small net gain.
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