Director’s Reflections…Annual Report Highlights

Barbara EpsteinThe HSLS Annual Report for 2007-2008 is now posted on the HSLS home page. This is an impressive compilation of all that the HSLS staff members have collectively accomplished during the past year. I am struck not only by how much has been achieved, but also by how cooperatively the various departments and units of the library work together to do this.

HSLS continues to rank among the top five or ten health sciences libraries nationally. In June 2008, the combined resources of HSLS libraries totaled approximately 407,000 print volumes, including more than 200,000 monographs. There were over 8,300 audiovisual titles and educational software programs. Library users had access to more than 4,000 electronic journals in the health sciences. Similarly, the electronic collection included 2,800 e-books and 90 databases or publisher collections of full-text information.

The HSLS Web site is the entry point to the wide range of HSLS resources and services. While about 1,200 people physically enter an HSLS library every day, there are an average of 44,877 page views daily on the HSLS Web site. (A page view is a request from a visitor’s browser for a displayable Web page, generally an HTML file.)

In fiscal year (FY) 2007-08, HSLS filled 36,512 interlibrary loan requests from around the world, ranking second among all academic health center libraries. Lending requests increased from the previous year by 2 percent, reflecting the strength of HSLS collections, and the department’s reputation for prompt and efficient service. During the past year, HSLS users requested 9,492 journal articles or books. Two thirds were filled from HSLS collections and 406 from other Pitt libraries. Only 3,009 were borrowed from outside institutions, a decrease of over 15 percent from the previous year. This is a strong indication that HSLS collections satisfy user needs.

In 2007-08, HSLS librarians and staff provided instruction, orientations or tours to 10,406 faculty, students and staff. Librarians performed 1,952 database searches by request. Of these, 1,117 were directly related to care of UPMC patients. Although the number of searches performed remains constant, the nature of these requests has changed. Users are asking for more in-depth assistance with projects such as writing systematic reviews and practice guidelines. Such requests require expert skills and are considerably more time-consuming than in the past. Similarly, requests for individual information consultations increased to 325 in FY08.

During the past year, all HSLS locations (Falk Library, UPMC Shadyside, WPIC Library, Children’s Hospital, and the offsite storage facility at Lexington Technology Center (LTC)) either were renovated, or were in the process of planning for future renovations.

In summer 2007, Falk Library added 17 new laptop computers to its circulating collection, bringing the total to 35 units. Use of the laptops has skyrocketed in the past year, with more than 4,500 unique circulations totaling over 14,000 hours of use. This is nearly a 70 percent increase as compared with FY 2006-07.

Falk Library’s four group study rooms continue to be popular with students in the health sciences. In FY 2007-08, the rooms were used by 1,790 groups for a total of 5,752 hours, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year.

HSLS’ off-site storage facility at LTC houses older library materials with historical and research value. From October 2007 through January 2008, print journal volumes dated 1975 to 1989 were relocated from Falk Library to LTC. After this move, requests from users for items in storage doubled to about 135 each week. An efficient inventory and retrieval system enables users requesting an article to receive it within one to two days. Advanced scanning software is used to scan and send electronic copies of requested articles in PDF format, making access to these print journals in storage nearly as convenient as an online subscription. Arrangements can also be made to deliver journal volumes to any HSLS library for in-house use if needed.

Posted in the 2008 Issue