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deliverIT CT (formerly Connecticar): Counting

Statewide Library Delivery Service

New!

Volume Data Report

Report your monthly totals at the end of each quarter using the following spreadsheets - instructions included in the spreadsheet. More info is included in the FAQs below.

Data Collection Templates

To collect data, you can use either of the following templates (Word or Excel), or you can create and use a data collection sheet of your own. More info is included in the FAQs below.

Below are Excel files for each recent quarter. There is a tab for each month. The monthly sheet allows you to enter your volume totals each day. As you enter the daily totals, the spreadsheet will tally up your monthly totals on the front page. At the end of the quarter, you can simply send me a copy of the spreadsheet (maria.bernier@ct.gov). More info is included in the FAQs below.

deliverIT Volume Study

Ongoing deliverIT CT Volume Study

Libraries receiving deliverIT service will count the number of incoming bins or individual loose items received and the number of outgoing bins or individual loose items sent through the delivery service on an ongoing basis. Libraries will report the numbers to the State Library quarterly. The State Library will compile the data and publish a statewide report at least once a year. 

Details and Responsibilities

Staff members of libraries receiving deliverIT CT service will:

  • Keep an accurate count of the number of incoming bins or individual loose items and the number of outgoing bins or individual loose items per month.
  • Report the monthly data quarterly.
  • Use the tool that the State Library creates to report counts.  
  • Review the FAQs below on a regular basis.

State Library staff will:

  • Create data collection sheets that libraries can, if they wish, print and use to collect data during the month.
  • Create and maintain a tool that libraries will use to report their monthly counts.
  • Compile a statewide deliverIT volume report at least yearly based on the data collected.
  • Publish the statewide report on the deliverIT Volume page in August or as soon as all libraries have reported data.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. 

Questions? Contact Maria Bernier - Maria.Bernier@ct.gov

deliverIT Volume Study - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why are we counting on an ongoing basis?

Because we need to get a more accurate estimate of how much volume the deliverIT CT service is handling. To do this we are implementing a 2017 recommendation from delivery consultant Jim Minges to gather frequent and reliable estimates. Jim noted in his report about delivery service in Connecticut, "Estimates based on a very infrequent count are inherently prone to inaccuracy. More frequent counts or ongoing data gathered throughout the year would be more labor intensive but far more accurate." 

Previously, from 2007 to 2016, the Connecticut State Library had implemented a yearly estimate of delivery volume based on one week's count of items and bins.

2. Does this mean we have to count each incoming and outgoing item?

You don’t have to, but you can if you wish and if it’s easier.

Generally, it may be easier to keep a running tally of individual items for your outgoing, and then count bins (plus any loose, individual items) for your incoming. That said, for your outgoing, if you are packing your transit hold requests and you are putting a couple of full bins out at once, you can tally them as bins.

Incoming bins arrive all at once, so it may be easier to size them up and count bins, plus any individual loose items.

To pilot this, we counted at MLSC for 3 weeks or so. We find it easier to keep a running tally of individual items for our outgoing. Throughout the day, we keep adding to our outgoing bins so it’s easier to keep track of individual items as we add them into outgoing bins. 

3. If the goal is to create a literal count as opposed to an estimate, should libraries be counting items as opposed to bins?

Most libraries will count EITHER bins OR loose items. Libraries that have lower deliverIT volume may find it easier and more accurate to count items. Libraries that have high deliverIT volume may find it easier to count bins. Libraries can also compromise and count full bins plus loose items, such as 1 bin plus 3 loose items. We suggest that you count any loose items that aren’t in bins, or count items if you have a bin that has only a few items in it.

Some examples: If one day you receive 1 full bin and a separate bag or box with 6 items, then you can tally 1 bin and 6 individual items. If another day you receive 2 full bins and a partial bin that’s a quarter full, then you can either tally 2.25 bins, or you can tally 2 bins plus count the items in the partial bin and tally those as individual loose items. If on another day you get 3 bins that are all half full, then you can tally that as 1.5 bins, or you can count all the items and tally the individual loose items. 

4. Many libraries will package several smaller items together to be sent to one library. Would the package be counted as 1 item or would 5 smaller items packaged together be tallied as “5”?

They would be tallied as 5 individual or loose items. Also, count 1 for each item that circulates, that is, count it if it has a barcode. If, for example, you have a DVD set and each DVD has its own barcode, then count each DVD individually. If the entire DVD set has one barcode, then count the set as 1. 

5. It has been determined that a bin consists of approximately 24 items. Is that an accurate reflection of the total volume? 

The State Library came up with 24 items in a bin the following two ways:

1) Data: We looked at the data from past volume studies. We took the number of “incoming items” that libraries reported and divided it by the number of “incoming bins” that libraries reported to get an average – we have data on both of those from 5 volume studies in 2014 through 2016.

2) Anecdotal: In one test, the State Library filled a bin with a random shelf of books from MLSC's professional collection, and we fit 24 items in the bin. In another test a couple years prior, someone asked how many items fit in a bin, and we filled a bin with random large print books, and we were able to fit 24 into the bin.

24 is an average, so it’s possible that you never (or seldom) have a bin that’s exactly 24 items. Over time the bins with 30+ children's books will average out with bins that are filled with 15 or so items.

6. The study is entirely reliant on staff counting. How is accuracy being assessed and assured?

Like all of the past Ccar/deliverIT volume studies, we rely on staff counting, and we ask that staff do the best that they can. Because we are counting all the time, our yearly estimate will be much more accurate.

7. The report provides a column for “outgoing bins.”  What is definition of an outgoing bin – when the bin is full or when the bin is picked up by the driver? A bin may be filled, but not taken by a driver for two to three weeks. The item status for the contents would be “in-transit.” However, the reality is that the items are merely waiting in our staging area. Therefore, are we measuring the filled bin or a bin that leaves our building? 

For your outgoing count, we recommended that you count things when you put them into a bin. For the purposes of counting, it doesn’t matter when the driver picks up the bins, whether it’s that day, the next day, or in two or three weeks. You’ve counted it and for the purposes of the count, it doesn’t matter when it gets picked up. That used to matter when we counted for one week in which case we only wanted one exact week’s worth of data. Since this is an ongoing count, it doesn’t matter when the driver picks the bins up.

8. Our consortium offers a supplementary delivery service. Should we also count those items?

No. Count only the materials that the deliverIT CT service drops off and picks up. You may want to keep track of materials in the supplementary service for your own purposes, but they should not be included in the counts you report to the State Library.

9. We have had staff and volunteers deliver some materials to other libraries. Should we count those items too? 

No. We want to get counts of materials that the deliverIT CT service drops off and picks up, so don't count material that your staff or volunteers deliver. You may want to keep track of those materials for your own purposes, but they should not be included in the counts you report to the State Library. If you count something and then later decide to have staff make the delivery, simply subtract from your tally sheets the amount that staff is delivering. 

10. Should we still sort our outgoing by route?  

Yes, continue sorting your outgoing by route. Sorting by route streamlines the workflow for the deliverIT service.

11. Are the drivers being asked to participate in any way with this count?

No, they are not. It’s best to have the drivers spend their time picking up, sorting, and dropping off material. We don’t want to slow down that process. 

12. Libraries are restricting what they send out. Won't that skew the data?

We understand that there are restrictions in place. We are asking libraries to collect data on what the current deliverIT service is actually picking up and dropping off, i.e. what the delivery service is actually handling, and for that, the data should be correct.

What is deliverIT CT?

deliverIT CT - Statewide Library Delivery, A service of the CT State Library
deliverIT CT (formerly Connecticar or Ccar) is Connecticut's statewide library delivery service. deliverIT CT transports about 1.5 million library items per year to 215 public and academic libraries in the state.

Credits

deliverIT CT is funded by the State of Connecticut and the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Connecticut State Library.

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