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deliverIT CT (formerly Connecticar): Counting

Statewide Library Delivery Service

Volume Data Report

Report your monthly totals using the following spreadsheet - instructions included in the spreadsheet.

Please submit your July, August, September 2018 totals by Friday, October 19, 2018. 

Data Collection Templates

To collect data you can use either of the following templates or you can create and use a data collection sheets of your own. 

Below are Excel files for each recent quarter. There are tabs for each month. The monthly sheets allows you to enter your daily volume totals. As you enter the daily totals, the spreadhsheet will tally up your monthly totals. At the end of the quarter, you can simply send me a copy of the spreadsheet. 

Fiscal Year 2019

New deliverIT Volume Study

Ongoing deliverIT CT Volume Study

Libraries receiving deliverIT service will count the number of incoming bins and individual loose items received and outgoing bins and 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 and individual loose items and outgoing bins and individual loose items per month.
  • Report the monthly data quarterly.
  • Use the tool that the State Library creates to report counts.  

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 Steve Cauffman - stephen.cauffman@ct.gov

New 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 and to do this we are implementing a recommendation from a delivery consultant. 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. By counting bins on an ongoing basis, we will have a much more accurate estimate of delivery volume. 

In his 2017 report on library delivery in Connecticut, consultant Jim Minges recommended the following [bolding added] : 

"Gather frequent and reliable estimates of shipping volume. Other states use methods ranging from daily manifests of packages shipped to quarterly count weeks. We recommend some form of monthly report of full bins and additional loose packages shipped with a clear formula for estimating items shipped. If a monthly report is not collected, an absolute minimum should be a quarterly count week of items shipped." 
             -- From An Assessment of the deliverIT Connecticut Delivery Service, 2017, p.10

Later in the report, prefacing his discussion of data from our previous volume studies, he states:

"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." 
             ​-- From An Assessment of the deliverIT Connecticut Delivery Service, 2017, p.17

2. 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 our 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 the past 5 volume studies. The results follow here:

deliverIT Volume Studies - Weekly Count Totals

 
Incoming Items
 
Incoming Bins
 

Average: Items Per Bin
(Items / Bins)

March 2014 39,077 1,499 26.1
October 2014 46,195 1,672 27.6
May 2015 47,395 1,736 27.3
August 2016 36,013 1,650 21.8
December 2016 32,598 1.534 21.3
Total: 201,278 8,091 24.9

Note that none of the averages are exactly 24, although they are relatively close – the first 3 study results are a few items higher than 24 and the last two studies are a few items lower than 24. If you total all 5 of the studies, the average is actually 25 (rounded). We went with 24 since the averages from the last two studies were a little lower than the first 3.

2) Anecdotal: A couple of weeks ago, 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. A couple of years ago 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+ childrens’ books will average out with bins that are filled with 15 or so items.

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

We are still going to call the final number an ‘estimate.’ Even the consultant’s recommendation states, “Gather frequent and reliable estimates of shipping volume.” [Bolding added]. In the past, libraries have counted for one week and the State Library came up with an estimate for the entire year based on that one week count. Now and going forward we’ll be counting on an ongoing basis, so the new estimate will be more accurate.

Libraries can count individual items if they wish and indeed that may be easier for libraries that have lower deliverIT volume. Libraries can count the number of full bins and any other individual or loose items and that may be easier for libraries that have very high deliverIT volume. 

4. Many libraries will package several smaller items together.  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, if 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. The study is entirely reliant on staff counting.  How is accuracy being assessed and assured?

Like all of the past Ccar/deliveryIT 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. 

Not necessarily for accuracy, but for awareness since this is a new process, the State Library is going to create a web page that will have a FAQ so that we can address questions as they come up. We are going to be talking about this at the next ILL combined roundtable meeting. The State Library be sending messages to the deliverIT e-mail list.

6. 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 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.  

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

No they are not. At this point 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. 

8. Can you please clarify about the individual loose items?

We suggest that you count any items that aren’t in bins or count items if you have bin that has only a couple or few items in it.

Some examples: If one day you receive 2 full bins and a separate bag or box with 6 items, then you can tally 2 bins and 6 individual items. If another day you receive 3 full bins and a partial bin that’s a quarter full, then you can either tally 3.25 bins or you can tally 3 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. 

9. 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’ve been counting here at MLSC for the past 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. 

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

We understand that there are restrictions in place at the moment. 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. 

11. 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. 

12. 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.

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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