[Michlib-l] Magazine Use Answers Compiled

Kelli Perkins kperkins at herrickdl.org
Wed Feb 12 10:43:40 EST 2014

Thanks everyone for the fantastic tips for counting in house magazine use. Here are the four methodologies which seem most prevalent (with variations).

?Method 1 (Put a tally sheet on the current issue and ask patrons to self tally)
?Every few years or so we do a use survey by attaching with removable tape a fairly large piece of paper on the cover of the current issue, that says something like - "we are glad you enjoy reading this magazine. Please let us know by making a hash mark on this tally sheet." We keep a cup of pencils in the room during the survey time. We put it on a new issue and leave it until the next issue comes in. We generally do the survey for about 3 weeks to a month. The weeklies would get a new paper with each issue.

Method 2 (Ask patrons to place all used mags in a basket, then checkin or tally)
I've worked in libraries that have baskets on the tables near magazine and newspaper shelving. There are signs indicating that all magazines should be placed there rather than back on the shelf.  Every couple hours, a staff member empties the baskets and scans these as "used" in the automated system or just makes a tally mark under the magazine's name on a piece of paper to keep track of what is being used.  That way the magazines don't stay in the baskets too long and they can be reshelved regularly. You could set carts or baskets out and ask people to return the magazines there, instead of to the shelf when they're done reading. Similar to what academic libraries to record usage statistics.? Does your circ system have any in-house use monitoring function?  We use Sirsi/Workflows which has a feature called 'Mark Item Used.'  We use this in general just to count the number of items pulled off shelves, not checked out but in need of reshelving each month.  It is a way of tracking use without artificially inflating the circulation statistics.  The reporting software does allow track this by material type as well. ?

Method 3 (Pick up unshelved items and check them out to a dummy account)
We have a user account set up as 'inhouse'.  Any items left out on tables, placed at the ends of shelves, etc are checked out to 'inhouse', discharged, and sorted to shelve.  Each inhouse check out shows up in our system as a checkout.  This method doesn't differentiate between regular checkouts and inhouse, but it is something.?
?Method 4 (Survey patrons)
Every few years we conduct a simple survey by making forms available to patrons in the magazine area and online.

Kelli Perkins
Head of Reference Services
Herrick District Library
300 S River Ave, Holland MI 49423
kperkins at herrickdl.org<mailto:kperkins at herrickdl.org>

Reading: "Sycamore Row" by John Grisham
Listening: "Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier" by Tom Kizzia

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