Wednesday June 29, 2016

Roesch: Ask and you shall receive

By Lucy Fisher and Katy Kelly

Can you guess what has surpassed 3,475 checkouts this year?

One hint: It’s not a book.

Roesch Library provides access to numerous non-book items that can be checked out with a University ID.

At the Access Services desk in the first-floor lobby, students in particular are drawn to some highly used items, most of which were purchased upon receiving helpful student feedback. Our phone chargers have been checked out more than 3,475 times during the past academic year. That’s a lot of power!

And we’re still adding items. Last semester, we received a text message from a student asking if we had laptop chargers. We didn’t at the time, so we decided to invest in chargers for Macs and PCs. They’ve already become very popular.

Here’s a list of our top non-book items and how many times they circulated in the 2015-16 academic year:

1. Study room keys: 28,114

2. Phone chargers: 3,475

3. Headphones: 1,683

4. Computer cables (VGA, HDMI and extension cords): 992

5. Cameras and tripods: 334

6. Laptop chargers for Macs and PCs (New!): 73

7. Calculators (New!): Zero so far.

8. Selfie stick: Rarely used donated item; only 1 checkout.

We’re not the lone library offering coveted non-book items. Some public libraries circulate items ranging from tools to cooking equipment, all in response to their user communities. Other academic libraries respond to specific patrons by offering rocks for geology students and Lego robotics components for engineering students.

Yale University’s Lillian Goldman Law Library is the winner when it comes to most unusual but definitely useful items available for checkout. At this library, anyone can check out toys, tools, air mattresses, bike pumps, umbrellas, book stands, daylight-simulating portable lights, sports equipment and snow shovels. Our favorite item? Patrons can check out a therapy dog named Monty for 30-minute intervals. We would definitely be charged overdue fines.

What would you want to check out at a library? We’re always taking suggestions.

— Lucy Fisher, course reserves specialist, and Katy Kelly, communications and outreach librarian

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