Snapshot Day reveals information on resources used at Oviatt Library

Information Desk Associate, Daniel Zafran, 22, CTVA major, provides guidance on Oviatt Library resources at Snapshot Day. Photo Credit: Katie Grayot/Staff Photographer

Last week CSUN compiled data, pictures and video to compose a snapshot of a day in the life of the Oviatt Library.

CSUN’s library joined hundreds of other public libraries across California on Snapshot Day, which began Oct. 4.

Snapshot Day is an initiative headed by the California Library Association (CLA) where library branches were requested to submit information such as the number of patrons who visited the library on a given day, the number of times the reference desk was solicited, what resources were being used, as well as pictures and video of students in the library.

“It’s our day to put a spotlight on the libraries of California,” said Holly Macriss, executive director for the CLA.

The CLA had at least 1,000 branches participate and they will use the figures obtained through the program to raise awareness of library needs.  Susanna Eng, the first-year experience librarian, said she was asked to gather statistics for everything she did on Oct. 4.

She said she looked at how many questions were answered at the desk, questions that were answered through the Oviatt’s phone texting service and e-mail.

“I used a Flip cam and asked students why they were at the library that day,” Eng said. “I found out they were coming for different reasons to use study rooms, to study alone, to use reserves, there were a lot of different answers.”

Eng said she believes the effort on her part is to provide a larger idea of the number of questions the reference desk provides answers to.

“We’ll compile all that information and we’ll use it for state and national advocacy efforts and then we’ll be packaging it back for libraries to use in local advocacy efforts,” Macriss said.

Snapshot Day was developed last year by the state of New Jersey and because the program was a success they encouraged other states to participate. The CLA started developing tools and set a framework in February. Public libraries, whether academic, medical, county or law, were given the opportunity to engage patrons and gather information the week of Oct. 4 and submit it to the association.

Marianne Afifi,  associate dean at the Oviatt Library, said CSUN prepared for Snapshot Day by posting on their website what they expected to collect from different employees at the library.

Afifi said some data was easy to collect because the Oviatt collects it on a normal basis.

“We already collect the number of people who visit (each day) and the number of books checked out (each day),” Afifi said. “Normally we don’t look at daily statistics so I’d be interested to know what they are.”

Macriss said she believes libraries were developed for a community and said it is a place for people to go and learn.

She added that it is a citizen’s right to have access to the library and to advocate for a library is as simple as advocating for better facilities for health.

“There are certain things that seem natural,” Macriss said about advocating for libraries.

CSUN librarians are optimistic about the results they expect from Snapshot Day.

“I expect to see that we are a busy library and hope the California Library Association will use our data to make the point that we have a lot of resource issues and are going through budget cuts,” Afifi said. “I expect to raise our visibility.”