Typographical Printing-Surfaces 1916

By the Numbers: CCA Libraries 2017-18

The end of the academic year is just around the corner, which makes it a great time to take a peek at some year-end numbers. What were our most popular items? What makes a power-user? Which program drives the most circulation? Here are the answers to these questions and more!


Books assigned for classes are always the ones checked out the most (for the record, top of that list was LaToya Ruby Frazier’s The Notion of Family). But it’s also interesting to see what’s popular in some of our other collections: the most checked out periodical was Eye - a hip graphic design magazine available in Simpson Library - followed right behind by Artforum International. The most popular title in our Artists’ Book collection was Beeswax, a sumptuous limited run journal of art and literature. In the Materials Library, samples of decorative glass beat out reclaimed wood flooring (is that a sign of an emerging trend in interior design?).

Decorative Glass

Joseph Angelo, Decorative Glass, 2018, photograph, CCA Materials Library.

Turning to our electronic resources, JSTOR ran away from the competition as our most accessed database, and accounted for over 5,000 articles read from 333 different journals. The most popular online journals in JSTOR were Art Journal, October, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. We also saw a lot of online articles downloaded from the EBSCOhost databases, from which Architectural Design was the top destination -- 157 articles were downloaded from that journal alone.

Switching from text to images, over 8,400 high resolution images were viewed in Artstor - enough art to fill multiple museums! Our newly-subscribed streaming film database, Kanopy, was a huge hit, with over 1,800 clips streamed. The most popular films were La Jetée, Five Obstructions, and I Am Not Your Negro.

What are people searching for? These were the most popular keyword searches on our library homepage:

While a search for “art” sounds awfully broad, we suspect most users were looking for Art: A Brief History, the assigned textbook for the required course “Introduction to the Arts.”

Power Users

The seminal librarian S.R. Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science declares to “every reader his or her book” and to “every book its reader,” but a few of our readers go far beyond that. One undergraduate fine arts student checked out 150 items this academic year alone. Based on 17-week semesters, that’s over four items a week! By comparison, our number two patron, a visual studies undergrad, came in at an otherwise impressive 107 items. Overall, 42 students had over 40 checkouts, the arbitrary cutoff for our “power user” category. Of course, whether you checked out 150 books or none, you're always welcome in the CCA Libraries.

How does this break down by program? Since majors vary significantly in size, we have to calculate it as checkouts per students in a major. And by that metric, the MA in Curatorial Practice put in a jaw-dropping performance: 41 checkouts per student. Amongst other grad programs, the Masters in Architecture and Master of Advanced Architectural Design were also big library users.

In the undergraduate ranks, Visual Studies came out on top, not surprising for a research-heavy discipline. Numbers two and three were Printmaking and Graphic Design. Since both are disciplines with rich histories in book design, we’re happy to see those students making such excellent use of the library! Painting/Drawing, Architecture, Ceramics, and Photography students weren’t far behind.

Battle of the Branches

So which of our libraries is the most popular? Going strictly by borrowing, San Francisco’s Simpson Library wins the prize despite being the smaller of our two traditional libraries. But going by foot traffic, Oakland’s Meyer Library is the standout. Of course, we here in the CCA Libraries love all of our branches equally.

CCA Libraries Graphic

Nancy Chan, CCA Libraries, 2007, illustration.

Lucien Alphonse Legros and John Cameron Grant, "Illegibility: Figures," in Typographical Printing-Surfaces (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1916), 172.

Typographical Printing-Surfaces 1916