Defying the common perception about libraries, McDermott Library – both as a place and a collection – is experiencing a surge in popularity, reaching record usage in April 2012. Last month, nearly 80,000 customers physically entered the Library and the total for the year is 32 percent higher than 2011. Study space in the library remains highly valued and demand for the 12 study rooms increased 131 percent for 2012. Library statistics show that students and researchers continue to need both group study areas for team projects and a quiet environment for individual study. As a direct result of those needs, the library is now open for an additional four hours each week on Saturday.
The popularity of electronic resources also continues to escalate. Over 200 databases are provided to supply researchers with scholarly articles and books. Since 2007, the number of searches on these databases has steadily risen from 2,034,331 to 3,290,764, or nearly 62 percent. Using an article database provides a researcher with cover-to-cover indexing to the journals in a discipline and provides students and faculty with all the articles in a journal rather than only selected ones. The campus downloads nearly 800,000 articles from electronic journals per year.
Usage of electronic books – especially in management, engineering, and some of the social sciences – is skyrocketing as well, as more materials become available in this format. Interestingly, despite the library’s 1 million eBooks, customers still demand print titles 3-to-1 when requesting a purchase. Director of Libraries Ellen Safley said that while digital resources will likely continue to dominate modern library acquisitions, paper books are still preferred by many faculty and students.
Increased demand for space and print and electronic resources brings a demand for infrastructure changes. During the past year, the library has added study rooms, rearranged common spaces to make room for more work tables and carrels for individual study, installed additional electrical outlets for laptops, replaced the computers in the Information Commons with faster, more powerful machines, and is about to update all the photocopiers – which serve as both printers and copiers – in the Copy Center. The wireless network in the building has been upgraded and janitorial services increased. The library coffee shop, Novel Brew, is open daily for additional hours with a wider range of offerings. Even the soda machines are new.
McDermott Library will continue to offer the highest quality, most up-to-date resources for scholarship, and will continue to improve the physical and electronic landscape in which students and faculty can make use of those resources.