LRS recently completed an evaluation of the statewide 24/7 virtual reference service AskColorado, as well as its academic queue AskAcademic. Between April and October 2011, nearly 1,300 users completed customer exit surveys. The results indicate that users are pleased with these services and are likely to be repeat users. Four out of five users (80%) rated AskColorado librarians as “very helpful” or “helpful,” and six out of seven users (85%) said that they would be “very likely” or “likely” to use the service again. Satisfaction was even higher among AskAcademic users. Nearly 9 in 10 AskAcademic survey respondents (89%) indicated that the librarians who assisted them were either very helpful or helpful , and most (94%) said that they were “very likely” or “likely” to utilize the service again. Compared with previous AskColorado evaluations, in 2011 the service received its highest ratings yet on these measures.
See the Fast Facts and Closer Look report for more details.
In Fall 2011, we conducted a study of the statewide courier system to determine the quantity and type of materials that libraries were sending via the courier system, and then to estimate, based on these numbers, the system’s cost effectiveness versus using a commercial service. Our results showed that the courier system continues to provide substantial cost savings to participating libraries. Colorado libraries send an estimated 5.9 million items annually via the courier system. Compared with the costs of using a commercial shipping service (USPS, UPS, or FedEx), they save up to an estimated $7.1 million per year by using the courier.
Find out more in the Fast Facts report.
This week the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published Academic Libraries: 2010 First Look a biennial report that summarizes services, staff, collections, and expenditures of academic libraries in 2- and 4-year, degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Highlights from the report include:
• Academic libraries held approximately 158.7 million e-books and about 1.8 million electronic reference sources and aggregation services at the end of FY 2010.
• Academic libraries spent approximately $152.4 million for electronic books, serial backfiles, and other materials in FY 2010. Expenditures for electronic current serial subscriptions totaled about $1.2 billion.
• During FY 2010, some 72 percent of academic libraries reported that they supported virtual reference services.
• Academic libraries reported 88,943 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff working in academic libraries during the fall of 2010.
To view the full report please visit
Everyone’s heard of thinking outside the box, right? You know-the ability to break out of unconventional thinking and apply innovative ideas to problem solving. Well, now we invite you to explore ways of thinking outside the survey and using innovative methods to learn about the people who use your library.
Please join us at CALCON11 for:
Beyond the Survey: Innovative Techniques for Learning About Your Patrons
Friday, October 14, 2011, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, Snowberry
We’ll present 10 creative-and often fun-ways to engage your patrons, staff, and community and get the information you need. Bring your ideas, questions, and enthusiasm. We’d like to share our ideas and hear yours.
It’s time to think outside the survey!
~Linda, Lisa, & Nicolle
The Compare Academic Libraries tool allows users to compare college and university libraries on a wide range of characteristics. It also allows the user to view and download historical data of a library of interest as far back as FY 2000.
To view this updated tool, visit:
This web tool is a product of the National Center for Education Statistics within the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Education.
Last November, we asked you in a 60-second survey to share your opinions about privatization and public libraries. We just published the results of this study as a feature article in American Libraries: “Who’s the Boss? Does Private Management Have a Place in Public Libraries?”. Access the article here. The study’s results were also summarized in an earlier blog post.
Thanks again to everyone who responded to our survey! Your participation and thought-provoking comments provided us with an excellent foundation from which to work as we wrote the article. We’re excited to continue sharing your opinions about hot topics in LIS in future studies.
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Library Journal’s 2011 Job Satisfaction Survey–Rocked by Recession, Buoyed by Service: “Budget cuts from coast to coast have turned up the heat, but librarians still love their jobs. Realistically, however, money shortages have reduced advancement opportunities and many feel they’ll have to leave libraries before retiring.”
Read the article at: http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/newslettersnewsletterbucketljxpress/890617-441/lj_2011_job_satisfaction_survey.html.csp
Read about the results from the LRS survey “What is the Value of an MLIS to You?” at: http://www.lrs.org/news/2011/06/14/results-from-the-60-second-survey-what-is-the-value-of-an-mlis-to-you/
LRS is excited to announce the release of our most recent Closer Look report, “The Impact of the Recession on Public Library Use in Colorado.” We examined Colorado public library use prior to and after the recession’s onset. Our findings indicated that from 2006 to 2007 (prior to the recession), visits per capita, circulation per capita, program attendance per 1,000 served, and Internet computer use per capita remained relatively static or decreased in Colorado public libraries.
In contrast, visits, circulation, and program attendance all increased during the recession (from 2007 to 2009) by at least 11 percent for libraries serving large communities (populations of 25,000 or more). Higher use during this period was also seen in resort communities. Visits, circulation, program attendance, and Internet computer use all increased by between 6 percent and 28 percent in public libraries serving these communities. Libraries serving small communities (populations under 25,000) were not included in the study because of missing and anomalous data.
Public libraries have been a key resource for Coloradans during both the recession and the post-recession recovery period, providing community gathering space, access to entertainment and educational resources, and information about job hunting, economizing, and other topics that are particularly relevant during this time.
Find the report as well as a Fast Facts highlighting key findings at http://www.lrs.org/recession.php
The 2010 Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) deadline has been extended until March 18, 2011. The quality of this national survey depends on your library’s participation. Please find the on-line questionnaire at http://surveys.nces.ed.gov/libraries/als. If you need your library’s user id and password, please contact the ALS Help Desk at 1-877-749-4925.
Why should you participate?
The U.S. Congress and your state government use data from this survey when considering policy changes concerning academic libraries. To produce valid results, the survey must obtain at least an 85 percent response rate – your survey counts!
The data from the ALS are used to produce on-line reports and supplemental tables for the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education. The Library Statistics Program web site at http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/libraries/ offers many resources for libraries, including the Compare Academic Libraries tool, which is an easy way to compare your library to other, similar libraries. The peer comparison tool is only available for libraries that respond to the survey.
Thank you for your cooperation and support of this national academic library survey. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact survey administrators at email@example.com.
It’s no secret that we like numbers here at LRS. Give us a rich data set and we will get lost in it for days. However, we also recognize the power of good stories to resonate with people on a deeper level than numbers often do. Take Olly Neal’s story, for example. In the late 1950s, Olly was a high school senior in Arkansas who liked to cut class and get in fights. One day, he was in the school library and noticed a book by African American author Frank Yerby. While it interested him, he was concerned that if anyone saw him checking it out, they would tell his friends he liked to read and then his reputation would be ruined. So, he hid the book under his jacket and walked out. After finishing the book, he returned to the library to sneak it back on the shelf, was pleasantly surprised to discover another Yerby title there, and snuck that one out as well. This process repeated itself several times over the course of the semester.
Thirteen years later, Olly ran into his school librarian while attending his high school reunion, and she told him she had spotted him when he “stole” his first Yerby book. Initially, she wondered why he was trying to smuggle the book out of the library when he could check it out for free. But soon she caught on to his motives, and decided to encourage his budding interest in reading any way she could. Unfortunately, the works of African American authors were not widely available during that time period, and neither the school library nor the other local libraries had additional Yerby titles. So, she drove to a library in Memphis to pick up another Yerby title for him to read. She repeated this process each time he took out a book. Olly credits his school librarian, and the extraordinary efforts she made on his behalf, with getting him interested in reading. This interest set him on a path that ultimately led to his acceptance to law school. Today, Olly is a judge for the 1st Judicial District in eastern Arkansas.
Listen to Olly tell this story here, courtesy of StoryCorps.
Do you have a story about how your library has impacted you or someone you know? Share it here.