n months 23-25 of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the library continues to see a gradual returns to "normal" for both collections and service use. However, both remain subject to variabilities that are difficult to predict or interpret.
This quarter we "turned on" our ILL symbol in OCLC for outbound lending (we stopped lending at the start of the pandemic) and saw ILL requests from other libraries return to pre-pandemic levels. Document delivery requests (to VDOT employees) were also at pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, print material circulation increased to close to pre-pandemic levels, as did use of online databases as measured by full-text downloads. Reference transactions were above average this quarter. However, Literature Search requests dropped close to record lows, with the library completing only one requested search (our average is 5/quarter). We will continue to monitor the literature search service, an "on demand" service.
One of our biggest moments this quarter was the convening of a Library User Group (LUG), which we have been working to create since 2019. The 12-person group met virtually on February 2nd with great energy. The meeting was coordinated with support from Research Director Cathy McGhee, deputy director Mike Fitch, and Ken Winter and Gil Kenner (from the library), all of whom were in attendance. Details will be outlined in next quarter's spotlight report.
In other news, the library was contacted by Natalia Cornwell, a member of VDOT's Office of Strategic Innovation (OSI) for help finding research on 3D printing for bridge construction. The result was the comprehensive literature search Innovative Uses of 3D Printed Concrete By State DOTs: A Fast-Tracked Literature Search, delivered by the library in December 2021. Follow-up discussions led to library collaborations with OSI to purchase a number of books on innovation, which were cataloged by Gil Kenner and added to this Guide on Innovation created by Ken Winter, which quickly garnered more than 400 views, becoming the 3rd most popular of the library's 36 guides.
Dr. Amy O'Leary Retires
After nearly 31 years at the Virginia Transportation Research Council, Dr. Amy O'leary announced her retirement this quarter. Amy joined VTRC in June of 1990 after completing her Doctorate in Sociology at the University of Virginia. One of her first research projects was featured in this June 1991 article in the VDOT Bulletin.
This is significant news since the library has reported to Dr. O'Leary since January 2016, after briefly reporting to VDOT’s Business Transformation Office (starting in July 2015) along with VDOT’s Knowledge Management (KM) program, which was later disbanded. Starting this quarter all library staff will report directly to Deputy Director of Research Dr. Michael Fitch.