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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Simulation and queuing models for resoource allocation in the UBC Libraries Knudsen, Cindy

Abstract

This thesis describes two projects completed at the Centre for Operations Excellence (COE) for Darrell Bailie Manager, Finance and Facilities, and Dwight Tanner, Administrator, Special Projects of UBC Libraries. The cost of maintaining a sizable collection of reference material facilitates the need for UBC Library branches to be more cost effective. This thesis studies two services the library offers with this goal in mind. The first study considers the photocopier service available at Koerner Library. There are copy rooms on four floors of the library with different levels of demand. Furthermore, the peak demand for the photocopiers occurs for only a short period. Queueing theory and simulation are used to model the system to determine the optimal number of photocopiers needed in each copy room to meet the peak demand, while still maintaining an acceptable service level. This thesis shows a reduction in photocopiers is feasible for Koerner Library and offers two types of charts to use when making decisions on size and allocation of the photocopier fleet. The first chart quantifies changes in the mean time in the system (i.e. the mean waiting time and service time), the mean time in the queue, the mean queue length, and the utilization of the photocopiers when the number of photocopiers on a floor is decreased or increased from the current number of photocopiers. The second chart indicates how many photocopiers are needed to meet a certain level of customer service, for each Copy room. The second study considers the services offered at circulation desks in Koerner Library, Woodward Biomedical Library, and David Lam Library and the self-charge machines at Koerner Library. The demand for their circulation desks is variable not only throughout the day, but also throughout the week and the year. Demand is assessed and grouped into similar periods. Queueing theory is used to determine a staffing schedule to satisfy the demand for each of these periods, while still maintaining an acceptable service level. With the selfcharge machine, a patron can check out his/her own material, thereby circumventing the circulation desk. This thesis shows the reliability of the machines is very limited and a large number of patrons will have to continue their transactions at the circulation desk.

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