Archive for the Academic Category

LJ survey reveals differences in faculty’s vs. academic librarians’ perceptions of library services


Image credit: Library Journal

A new nationwide study by Library Journal, in partnership with Gale, examines faculty and academic librarian perceptions of the services offered by academic libraries, and the results are mixed. Nearly nine out of ten faculty (87%) feels that the academic library is important for providing resources for their own and their students’ research. However, academic librarians and faculty had different views on what services are most important and whether communication is adequate between faculty and librarians.

As far as services go, librarians and faculty do agree that the central function of academic libraries is information literacy instruction and research consultation for students. Yet librarians tended to rate their achievement in these areas much higher than faculty did. On the other hand, faculty are more likely to rate librarians higher in terms of stretch services. Well over half (61%) of faculty, for example, rated repository services as very important or essential, compared to just half of librarians. Faculty also rated services such as text and data mining, and research grant management, higher than librarians did.

Communication seems to be the biggest barrier to faculty and academic librarians seeing eye to eye, though. Essentially all academic librarians in the study (98%) thought there could be better communication between the two parties, compared to less than half (45%) of faculty surveyed who felt the same. Busy schedules and a lack of easy ways to foster in-person contact were the most cited reasons for a lack of communication. Over a quarter (27%) of faculty simply felt that there was “no need” to communicate with librarians.

Results from this survey seem to indicate that libraries and their services are still perceived as very important to academic institutions. The challenges that academic libraries will face, though, appear to be balancing the services needed by all campus stakeholders, including students, faculty, and graduate students, while forging effective methods of communication in busy and technology-saturated environments.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Just 35% of 2011 academic library job postings included salary information

academic jobs

Image credit: College & Research Libraries

While the library job market seems to be improving, there is always room for more data! In the newest College & Research Libraries, two academic librarians did a content analysis of the American Library Association’s (ALA) JobLIST and the Association of Research Libraries’ (ARL) Job Announcements to capture the academic library job market in 2011, then compared the results to 1996 and 1988. While at this point the 2011 data is a bit stale, the trend information can be useful to those in the job market or hiring.

The researchers looked at the number, types and titles, qualifications/skills, salary, and locations of positions posted from January 1–December 31, 2011. One surprise finding: 33 different library job titles were found in the 2011 study, up from 22 in 1996 and 12 in 1988. The researchers speculate the increase is because of new emerging technologies and e-resources management shifts. Public services positions dominated in 2011 with 57% of all postings, while technical services trailed with 27% and electronic services with 15%. The geographic location of these positions has stayed fairly constant, with the North Atlantic region slightly winning out with 29% of announcements, compared to 26% in West & Southwest, 24% in Southeast, and 22% in the Great Lakes & Plains.

As might be expected, the 2011 study found a 24% increase in the percentage of job postings requesting computer skills compared to 1996, and more than 100% increase compared to 1988. A majority of positions (60%) required previous work experience, 14% preferred work experience, a quarter didn’t specify, and just 2% classified themselves as entry-level. And for those currently on the job market, take note: Just 35% of all job announcements listed salary information.

Read more about the academic library job market in the full report here. And check out our analysis of academic librarian salaries and of our own popular Library Jobline.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

More than 1 in 3 students in an academic library survey believe e-books make research easier


With the popularity of e-books in public libraries surging, many academic libraries are still tentatively acquiring e-book collections while debating how they might add to or detract from student research methods. Julie Gilbert and Barbara Fister of Gustavus Adolphus College have published an article in College & Research Libraries that tackles this very question though a survey of 417 students. The aim of their study is to investigate the potential impact of e-books on students reading habits through their current e-book use and their perception of how e-books might alter their reading behaviors in the future.

Even though close to half (42%) of students surveyed already have either e-reader devices or e-reading software on their mobile device or computer, the most prominent use for e-readers was for fiction (84%) and recreational reading rather than research (20%). Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half (56%) of the most frequent visitors to the library said they would be likely to use e-books provided by the library, compared to only a third of those who seldom or never visit the library. This, along with the finding that students who already have e-readers are more likely to use the library for non-research purposes, even for print materials, suggests that those most open to e-books are already the most eager readers.

The survey respondents appeared to be split on their feelings about the ease of e-books. A little more than a third (38%) said e-books would make research easier, almost a third (32%) said e-books would make research more difficult, and nearly the same amount (30%) were unsure. The most cited benefit of e-books was their portability and ease of use, and those who preferred print often did so because it was familiar, as well as easier to flip back and forth between several print books while researching. Preference of e-books was also highly variable depending on the survey respondents’ major. Natural Sciences and Business students were much more likely than those in the Arts and Humanities to embrace research in electronic format.

So, it seems that e-books are gaining ground as a viable format for research to some, but they are still primarily seen as most useful for recreational reading or part of an increasingly diverse mixture of research methods.

You can peruse the full article, available via Open Access by College and Research Libraries, here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

ALA reports close to two-thirds of academic libraries have made changes to their space in the last 3 years


Recently, we posted results from ALA’s 2015 State of America’s Libraries Report about how public libraries are transforming into more digitally inclusive environments in order to better serve the needs of current and future patrons. Public libraries are not the only kind of library undergoing major transformations, however.

ALA’s assessment of academic libraries found that although few libraries have seen increases in funding, many budgets have been re-allocated towards repurposing library space, migrating collections, and increasing staff focus on digital resources. Almost two-thirds (63%) of academic libraries responded that they have found new ways to provide space in the last 3 years, including writing/tutoring centers, quiet study areas, and technology spaces.

These transformational changes seem to have only just begun, too. The academic libraries also reported whether or not they planned on major changes to their library space in the next 5 years, and found that almost four-fifths (79%) of doctoral/research institutions were planning such changes, along with just over two-thirds (69%) of comprehensive institutions, just under two-thirds (65%) of baccalaureate schools, and close to half (45%) of associate-granting institutions.

While academic libraries undergoing major increases or changes in space are hoping for significant increases in usage, initial responses indicate that the libraries are still considered extremely valuable to the academic community. Well over half (59%) of chief academic officers rated library resources as “very effective” – achieving a higher rating than many other campus resources. According to the ALA report, it appears that many academic libraries are well on their way to adjusting to shifting information environments.

Want to know more? Check out the full report detailing school, academic, and public library trends here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

615 jobs posted on Library Jobline in 2014


For our popular library job posting website, Library Jobline, 2014 was a spectacular year! In our newest Fast Facts report, we report a total of 615 jobs were posted in 2014—the most ever since we launched the service in 2007—and up a whopping 170% since 2009, the lowest year for job posts in the middle of the recession. Average wages also hit new highs for posts requiring ($25.31 per hour) or preferring ($24.45 per hour) the MLIS degree.

Library Jobline also became an increasingly national tool. In 2014, we had the most-ever posts for positions located outside Colorado, with the year-end picture split nearly evenly between Colorado (51%) and other states (49%). With more than 600 job seekers and more than 130 employers added in 2014 alone, jobs posted on Library Jobline also reached a wider audience. In fact, we sent the most emails ever—more than 617,000—about new job posts, and job posts were viewed nearly 430,000 times.

Are you hiring at your library? In the library job market yourself? Sign up for Library Jobline as an employer or jobseeker. Jobseekers can tell us what jobs they’re interested in and get emails sent straight to their inbox whenever new posts meet their criteria. And employers can reach more than 3,500 jobseekers and more than 600 followers on Twitter @libraryjobline.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Student Monitor survey finds that 64% of college students are satisfied with their campus libraries


Survey results from a in a semiannual study conducted by market-research firm Student Monitor show nearly two-thirds of 1,200 college students surveyed were satisfied with their libraries on campus, with more than a third (35%) saying they were “very satisfied.” Upperclassmen, females, and students who lived on campus reported higher satisfaction levels than their younger, male, and off-campus colleagues.

Almost all (92%) of this group of college students also said they prefer doing research in digital format, but a solid chunk (about 40% depending on the activity) still prefer print when reading, studying, or taking notes for class. About a quarter (26%) said they’ve purchased an e-textbook, and just 10% ever used an e-textbook in high school. Just over 1 in 4 (26%) used Twitter while a whopping 90% used Facebook and 64% used Instagram.

The researchers asked students to rate their experiences with various aspects of college life, including the computer lab, bookstore, dining services, housing, financial aid, and more. As part of a semiannual study, the results also show ratings over time, from fall to spring semester. According to a managing partner from Student Monitor, libraries consistently rise to the top of the value ratings while housing, textbook costs, and campus dining tend to fall to the bottom.

Read more about this study via Library Journal and The Chronicle of Higher Education. For more context, check out our previous coverage of Pew’s research on young Americans’ perceptions of public libraries.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Academic Library Survey moving to IPEDS

Big changes are underway in the area of academic library survey data. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) formerly gathered data on academic libraries via the voluntary Academic Libraries Survey (ALS), which collected statistics every other year from degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Now, the ALS has been rolled up into a new Academic Libraries (AL) component in annual mandatory spring data collection for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Data collection for the new 2014-15 IPEDS AL component is going on now and continues through the beginning of April. Data will be released in the IPEDS Data Center.

We’re particularly hopeful this shift will mean more academic libraries will participate in data collection—resulting in more reliable and complete data—and a quicker turnaround for results. In the meantime, the NCES resource page has a handy comparison chart, variables crosswalk, and technical review report to help explain the changes.

Join us at CAL to learn how to create a data-based elevator speech


Will you be attending CAL this week? If so, we hope you will join us for our session, “If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! Make the Case for Your Library with a Data-Based Elevator Speech.” Here are the details:

If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! Make the Case for Your Library with a Data-Based Elevator Speech
Linda Hofschire & Meghan Wanucha
Friday, October 17, 3:00-4:45
River Birch A

Circulation, program attendance, website visits…these are just a few of the statistics you are already gathering at your library. But how do you take these data and turn them into effective advocacy? In this interactive session, learn how to develop an elevator speech about your library, use statistics and stories to add value, and tailor the message to various stakeholders. You will have the opportunity to draft an elevator speech and share it with others if desired. You are encouraged to bring any statistics you collect about your library for use in drafting your speech.

State grants doubled the collection budgets of 41 library recipients in 2013-14

state grants FF

We recently told you about the State Grants to Libraries Act (CRS 24-90-401) that offered $2 million to Colorado’s libraries and how many libraries were able to purchase materials thanks to the funds. We’ve now received preliminary data for the 2013-14 grant cycle highlighting just how those grants were used, and the impact is clear: State funding played a major role in building collections for libraries across the state.

More than 9 in 10 library recipients used the funds to purchase print books, totaling nearly 140,000 books added to library collections. Nearly 40% of recipients bought about 10,000 e-books. And more than half of library grant recipients purchased access to electronic databases for their patrons.

And it’s not just about the data: Libraries shared great stories showcasing the impact the state funding has had on their library and patrons. Here are a couple of our favorites:

  • It was a new book extravaganza! We were able to weed many aged and ragamuffin books. We refreshed our collection and it reignited our love for reading!
  • We are a 1:1 technology district, and this allowed us to expand our digital resources. It is helping us transform the way students think and learn.
  • We saw circulation rise by 13-29% at two branches because we can offer more targeted resources customers want and need.

Want to see more highlights and quotes from the 2013-14 grant cycle? Check out our new Fast Facts.

Final numbers for the 2013-14 grants will be available later this fall. And the cycle for 2014-15 is well underway with the $2 million appropriation renewed by the 2014 Colorado Legislature and funds scheduled for disbursement this fall. We’re looking forward to seeing how libraries use this year’s awards!

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Job posts on Library Jobline were viewed more than 423,000 times in 2013


In our yearly tradition, our newest Fast Facts reviews the past year of Library Jobline, our popular library jobs posting website. We investigate the kinds of jobs that are posted, what skills are required, and how 2013 was in the larger trends of the library job market. Here’s what we found:

In 2013, 431 jobs were posted on Library Jobline. That’s up almost 90% from 2009, the bottom of the job posting curve thanks to the latest recession. But we’ve not yet recovered completely: 523 jobs were posted in 2007, the first year of the service.

Average starting wages for postings not requiring an MLIS/MLS degree have increased more than 20% since 2007, more than starting wages for postings preferring (up 16%) or requiring (up just 4%) the degree. In fact, the average starting wage for positions requiring an MLIS in 2013 was $22.25 while postings preferring the degree had an average starting wage of $22.08—a difference of just 17 cents an hour.

Another interesting trend is how MLIS degree requirements have shifted since 2007. While other skills requirements, such as library experience or language skills, haven’t shifted much since the service began—within 5 percentage points—the degree requirements have changed quite a bit. In 2007, 35% of job posts that indicated a preference said the MLIS degree was required. In 2013, that figure fell to 18%. This hasn’t been mirrored by the percentage of posts that prefer the degree: In 2007, 12% preferred a library degree; in 2013, 15% did.

Learn more about Library Jobline and last year’s job postings through our new Fast Facts, available here. In the job market yourself? Sign up as a job seeker for to receive personalized job announcements. Responsible for hiring at your library? Join the nearly 750 employers and post jobs that are consistently viewed more than 1,000 times. And get even more job announcements, tips, and strategies by following @libraryjobline.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

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LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs. We partner with the Library and Information Science program at University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education to provide research fellowships to current MLIS students.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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