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UCM Library Planning & Assessment

UC Merced Library Annual Assessment Plan: Introduction

UC Merced Library chose to focus its 2016-2017 assessment efforts on the use of space currently under control of the Library. The reason for this focus is the campus’s planned enrollment growth and the formation of a campus Space Planning and Allocation (SPA) Board charged with making decisions about how space—including space in the Kolligian Library Building that is currently assigned to University Administration and Student Affairs—will be utilized as the 2020 Project unfolds. For 2016-2017, statistics on other areas of Library activity will be reported, though these areas will not be as thoroughly assessed as in the past.

It is also important to note that the Library developed a new strategic plan for 2017-2020, with the process of developing that plan lasting from the first through the third quarters of 2016-2017. The Library’s assessment plan for 2017-2018 will be aligned to the areas of emphasis called out in its Strategic Plan for 2017-2020. 


Assessment Goal

In addition to recording the number of library visitors captured by automatic gate counters, for the 2016-2017 year, Library will use SUMA, "open-source mobile web-based assessment toolkit for collecting and analyzing observational data about the usage of physical spaces and services." Though our use of SUMA, we will capture use patterns, student seating preferences, a record of the activities taking place in the Library, and general head count data. 

UC Merced Library Assignable Square Footage (ASF) 2017

Library Spaces By Type Approximate ASF Notes
Open Seating and Book Stacks 50,000 ~1/3 Book Stacks
Collaborative Rooms (14) 3,000 Seats 6-12 
Meeting Rooms (5) 2,500 Seats 5 or more
Quiet Study Spaces (2) 4,500 KL455, KL460
Event/Other 11,000 KL155, KL355*
Total ~80,000 Includes hallways, bridges, restrooms, etc. 

*KL355 serves as a quiet study space when not being used for events. 

Assessment Measures

During the Spring 2017 semester, UC Merced Library staff used SUMA to record occupancy of Library space. While the charts show real numbers, they do not give a sense of what the numbers mean in terms of the amount of use the Library routinely receives. Below the charts are photographs that depict the levels of occupancy the Library routinely receives. 

Average High Headcount















Daytime Average Hourly Headcount















Daytime Average Hourly Headcount


















Average Hourly Counts Finals Week, Spring 2017, May 6 to May 12



KL 280 10 AM
KL 280 10:00 AM
KL 280 1 PM
KL 280 1:00 PM

KL 280 3 PM
KL 280 3:00 PM
KL 480 10 AM
KL 480 10:00 AM
KL 480 1 PM
KL 480 1:00 PM
kl 480 3 PM
KL 480 3:00 PM
Given the heavy use of Library space, the Library will continue to use SUMA to collect building use statistics. Ideally, the Library will be able to collect even more detailed building use statistics given the experience gained using SUMA in 2016-2017. 


Assessment Goal
For 2016, Library Collections will gather and report statistics in such areas as the size, growth, and use of UC Merced Library Collections. 

Assessment Measures

Selected UC Merced Library Collection Statistics: FY 15-16 Compared to FY 16-17

Type of Resource 2015-2016 2016-2017 % Change
Electronic Reference Sources 660 673 +1.96%
Total Volumes (including e-books) 1,537,725 1,658,198 +7.83%
Serial Titles 114,457 114,510 +0.05%
Items Loaned to Other Libraries (Interlibray Loan) 5,635 5979 +6.10%
Items Borrowed from Other Libraries (Interlibray Loan) 4,871 4991 +2.46%
Items Circulated 16,627 19,982 +20.17%

FY 2016-2017 marked the sixth year in a row in which UC Merced Library's collection budget has remained flat. Given the increased demand for information resulting from the growth of the UC Merced campus plus increases in the cost of scholarly information that have run around 6%-to-7% per year for more than a decade, the Library's ability to provide information resources for research an teaching has been greatly compromised. The incremental growth in campus collections have been possible only by creative accounting. 

As has been the case since the opening of campus, UC Merced Library has been a net lender to other libraries, including other UC libraries. There are several theories (none mutually exclusive)  as to why UC Merced Library remains a net lender: 

  • The small (relative to the rest of UC) size of the UC Merced student and faculty populations means that UC Merced rate of borrowing is swamped by the rate of borrowing by other UC campuses. 
  • The UC Merced Library lends a lot to other campuses because our collection contains a high percentage of newer, more desirable books. Also, unlike most libraries, UC Merced Library does not restrict which books can be borrowed via interlibrary loan (ILL). 
  • UC Merced students tend to turn to UC Merced's large collection of instantly available e-books rather than wait a day or two for a book borrowed via ILL.  

The most intriguing change between FY 15-16 and FY 16-17 is the over 20% increase in items circulated to UC Merced students, faculty, and staff. There is no obvious explanation for this sharp increase. Library administration will continue to watch this number to see if it is a one-time anomaly or a trend. 

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary loan is an important resource for UC Merced students and faculty. The following graph shows the rate of campus ILL borrowing from FY04-05 through FY16-17.

Interestingly, UC Merced has been a net lender every year from 04-05 to the present. As a net lender, UC Merced Library lends more items to other libraries than it borrows from other libraries (including the other UC campus libraries.) 

In November 2016, UC Merced Library joined Libraries Very Interested in Sharing. The results of joining Libraries Very Interested in Sharing are shown in the following poster created by Dolly Lopez, UC Merced Library's Interlibrary Services Coordinator.

Assessing the Impact of Joining Libraries Very Interested in Sharing



Research & Learning Services

Assessment Goal
For 2016-2017, Research & Learning services will report statistics on such areas as instruction sessions taught, references transactions, etc. 

Assessment Measures

UC Merced Library Research & Learning Services Statistics

Service FY 15-16 FY 16-17
Number of Staffed Library Service Points 2 2
Number of Weekly Public Service Hours 97 97
Number of Reference Transactions (Total) 1,554 1,792
Number of Virtual Reference Transactions 1,356 1,453
Number of Presentations to Groups 195 200
Number of Total Participants in Group Presentations 4,609 4241

Poster: (based on fall 2016 exit slip data)

Assessing the Value of Library Instruction Using Qualtrics Survey Software (Assessment as Research Symposium, UC Merced 2017)

  • over 95% of students felt comfortable contacting their library instructor
  • 96% of student strongly agreed or agreed that the library session increased their research confidence
  • When asked what was most valuable from the session or what they learned that would help them accomplish their coursework, students noted the following:
    • how to search databases
    • research in general
    • how to use specific research strategies
    • about different information types
    • about other resources/tools and
    • about the research process

Digital Assets

Assessment Goal
For 2016-2017, Digital Assets will report statistics on such areas as electronic theses and dissertations processed, supplemental course resources processed, digitization projects undertaken, etc. 

Assessment Measures

UC Merced Library Digital Collections

Characteristic FY 15-16 FY 16-17
Number of Digital Collections 14 15
Size in Megabytes 662,998 852,143
Items 3,654 62,161
Views 73,716 75,434


UC Merced Theses and Dissertations

  FY 15-16 FY 16-17
ETDs processed 83 44 (Spring 2017 ETDs were transmitted 7/2017)


UC Merced Supplemental Course Resources

  FY 15-16 FY 16-17
# Requests 1702 855
# Fulfilled 1689 845

The drop in number of requests between FY15-16 and FY16-17 is due to the implementation of Canvas and ability of instructors to clone course resources between courses/semesters. Reasons requests are not fulfilled include when they exceed fair use, inability to transfer a requested video from DVD, or course cancelation.