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.
American Libraries will be publishing Jamie Helgren’s (DU-LRS Research Fellow) article on the Future of the Book in their January/February issue. See the article, “Booking to the Future” online now at: http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/features/11302010/booking-future.
This article is based on the LRS 60-Second Survey: The Future of the Book conducted earlier this year. Several LRS staff members contributed to the analysis of the data and you can see more about the survey results on the LRS blog and in two Fast Facts issues.
Jamie’s is the cover article for the Jan/Feb issue of American Libraries. Browse the issue and read the article at: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/e8e0bcae#/e8e0bcae/1
Last winter, LRS posted a 60-Second Survey on “The Future of the Book.” More than 1,300 people responded, with nearly 950 leaving additional comments about their thoughts on the topic. With all that information, we were able to write two Fast Facts providing analysis of both the results and the comments.
The comments proved to be one of the most interesting aspects of the survey, revealing passionate and philosophical thoughts on the future of paper and electronic books. Six common themes emerged as influences on future format choices: the existence of multiple formats, technological advantages, emotional/aesthetic appeal of paper books, content, cost, and change over time/generation. The first Fast Facts addresses results and comments related to cost and technological advantages of paper versus electronic formats, while the second report discusses the remaining comment categories and how they related to the type of library in which survey respondents worked and whether they owned an e-reader.
~ Jamie H.
Using an online survey, the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) is soliciting feedback from the entire Colorado library community. Rochelle Logan, current CAL president, wrote:
“It has been quite a few years since CAL conducted a survey to ask you if the association is meeting your needs. With the Board in the midst of writing a strategic plan, we decided it was time to put our finger on the pulse and find out what you want from CAL. Not only are we looking for feedback from our members, but non-members as well. Please take 5 minutes to answer this short questionnaire at http://www.formsite.com/calforms/membsurvey2010/index.html. It is very important that we hear from you as we plan for our future.”
The survey closes the end of June, so respond soon!
The National Center for Education Statistics today released The Condition of Education 2010, a Congressionally mandated report to the nation on education in America today. It covers all aspects of education, with 49 indicators that include findings on enrollment trends, demographics, and outcomes.
The report projects that public school enrollment will rise from 49 million in 2008 to 52 million by 2019, with the largest increase expected in the South. Over the past decade, more students attended both charter schools and high-poverty schools (those in which more than 75 percent of the students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch). One in six U.S. students attends a high-poverty school; and the number of charter school students has tripled since 1999.
Full report: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/
Two reports have been added to our Field Initiated Studies page! These reports come from Bonnie McCune and Heidi Baker with the Colorado Special Populations & Issues Committee.
The first, “The Future of Diverse Libraries,” is a survey from library staff members and indicates benchmarks, needs, and future steps. The second, based on personal interviews with leaders, “Key Informants: Opinions and Advice on Special Populations,” gives perspectives and general guidance.
To view these reports, click on the titles above or go to our Field Initiated Studies page at www.lrs.org/field.php.
ALA just released their State of America’s Libraries, 2010 report.
“The report shows the value of libraries in helping Americans combat the recession. It includes data from a January 2010 Harris Interactive poll that provides compelling evidence that a decade-long trend of increasing library use is continuing—and even accelerating during economic hard times. This national survey indicates that some 219 million Americans feel the public library improves the quality of life in their community. More than 223 million Americans feel that because it provides free access to materials and resources, the public library plays an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.”
For more: http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/mediapresscenter/americaslibraries/index.cfm.
CHICAGO – At every turn, news reports and research indicate fairly dramatic changes in U.S. library funding, services and staffing – most occurring in the last 18 months. According to a new report prepared by the American Library Association (ALA), libraries of all types are feeling the pinch of the economic downturn while managing sky-high use.
Compiled from a broad range of available sources, The Condition of Libraries: 1999-2009 presents U.S. economic trends (2009), and summarizes trends in public, school and academic libraries across several library measures, including expenditures, staffing and services. The report also highlights trends in services provided to libraries by library cooperatives and consortia.
[More at: http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pressreleases2010/january2010/outlook_ors.cfm]
Reports by library type: http://www.ala.org/ala/research/index.cfm
The report “Academic Libraries: 2008 First Look” presents tabulations for the 2008 Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) conducted by the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Look for statistical reports summarizing 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.
A new Fast Facts, “Use of Statewide Databases Skyrockets in 2009: Patrons Benefit from Additional Databases and Training,” has been published!
This Fast Facts examines the use of electronic databases in Colorado libraries in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 and explores the impact of librarian training and a larger database package on overall database use.
To read this Fast Facts, visit our Fast Facts page or click on the title above!