In accordance with the Institute's core values of being responsible stewards and acting ethically, the Library is proud to present this look at the data driving our decision making in 2021.
Below you will find interactive Tableau visualizations, allowing the reader insight into each data point for the last several years. Feel free to choose the views and visualizations you feel are most informative.
Under each visualization you will find a bit of context for the data and key takeaways for the year in review.
Physical Item Circulation
Key Takeaways: Circulation
Library Item Requests: The downward trend in total lending is clear from 2016 to 2019 -- those years where the Library was under construction and all materials were in cold storage in the Library Service Center. Though construction was complete by 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic continued to suppress lending. However, now that the Core, Popular Reading and Science Fiction collections are back in the building, you can see an upward trend emerge. This is held steady by Gadgets lending -- especially keyboards and mice, available by request only due to Covid-19 -- which continues to be strong in the waning stages of the pandemic as more students are on campus.
Library Service Center Item Requests: Again, the effect of the pandemic is clear on physical lending of items from the Library Service Center. Despite bumps in heavy-use times (especially August and September 2021), Core Collection items are historically the heaviest used. This means fewer requests overall from the Library Service Center, as they are now in the building.
Library Service Center Item Delivery Time: Like virtually all other sectors of the economy, the Library Service Center has been deeply affected by the pandemic and its subsequent effect on the job market. Delivery times have suffered as a result of related personnel issues.
Interlibrary Loan: The decrease in Interlibrary Loan borrowing overall means the Library has increased the specialization of its collection for faculty and researchers. To wit, they do not need other libraries' resources. As our efforts to better understand campus' research and teaching needs bear more fruit, we expect this trend to continue.
Key Takeaways: Consultations
Despite some outlier months, consultations -- both by type and by department -- are growing over the last three years. The use of web-only consultations is an important driver of this data, as reflected below in the web chat statistics of the Reference section. The Library expects to see continued growth in these areas as it refines its subject matter expert model to more accurately reflect the changing teaching and learning needs on-campus and virtually.
Key Takeaways: Instruction
Total Classes Taught and Classes by Attendance: The lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic can clearly be seen in the number of courses taught by Library faculty. The primary driver behind 2021's roughly 34 percent drop in classes taught and 42 percent dip in attendance is explained by significant changes in the way the Library provides instruction. Some instructors choose to use asynchronous learning materials like video tutorials available as Canvas modules or on our YouTube page. Concurrently, teaching faculty, many of whom have adopted a hybrid model of course instruction as a method of mediating the effects of Covid-19 in their classrooms, are not requesting in-person Library instruction in their courses.
Key Takeaways: Reference
Perhaps the clearest sign of the pandemic hastening the move to virtual services is the explosion in Web Chat help, which grew a staggering 345 percent over 2020. In person help at the INFODesk, of course, shows a sharp decline in 2020, with some turnaround in 2021 as students returned to campus.
Key Takeaways: E-Resources Use
Use of electronic resources continues to climb, with a 26 percent jump in inquiries into Library provided databases. This growth can also be tied to the Library's record-breaking investments in new databases and journals. Similarly, downloads of articles rose overall some seven percent, while e-book use increased a nominal 1.3 percent. Use of the Library's discovery layer, the Primo catalog, dropped about 20 percent. This reflects the decreasing use of physical collections, as Primo is primarily used to find and request books.
Key Takeaways: Web Usage
Another lingering effect of the pandemic -- though one expected as a trend among higher education overall -- is the increasing importance of full-service web infrastructure. In 2021, the Library saw a 21 percent growth in the use of library.gatech.edu, topping out at more than 665,000 unique page views. Presently, the Library is directing more resources and time to increase its web footprint, seeking ultimately to create true parity between the in-person and virtual experience of the Georgia Tech Library for both on-campus and virtual students.
Key Takeaways: Facilities
Gate Count and Room Reservations: Again, the lingering pandemic influences facilities use. It is interesting to note the nearly inverse relationship between gate count growth and study room use. Essentially, as students become used to a pandemic world, they are more comfortable using the large, open study spaces. In the early stages of the pandemic, gatecounts remained low for obvious reasons, but those who did come to the Library preferred to use the individual study rooms and the protection a closed door provided. This year, that relationship flipped.
In terms of raw numbers, gate count jumped more than 660 percent in 2021 as students returned to campus. Crosland Tower saw a roughly 33 percent drop in overall study room reservations. Price Gilbert, which was open only part of 2020, saw a 44 percent increase.