Archive for the Fast Facts Category

Number of materials challenges in Colorado public libraries continues slow decline, falling by 3% since 2013


As part of our yearly investigation into the materials that are challenged in public libraries in Colorado, our latest Fast Facts delves into detail concerning the format, audience, reason, and resolution of the materials challenges that were reported in the 2014 Public Library Annual Report. Information provided about these challenges help us to gauge the climate of intellectual freedom in Colorado public libraries over time.

So how did Colorado libraries fare in 2014? The total number of challenges over the years continues its overall downward trend. This trend has recently leveled out somewhat, however, since the number of challenges decreased by only 3% from 2013 to 2014. Several factors remained consistent from previous years, including the most common audience for challenged materials, adults, which represented the audience for three-quarters (76%) of challenges in 2014. There was also little change in the manner in which challenges were handled by the library; for the majority of challenges, no changes were made at all, meaning that the items were not reclassified, moved, or removed. While “sexually explicit” and “violence” remained two of the most cited reasons for the challenge, “other,” non-categorized reasons continue to rise.

An interesting shift taking place is the most common format of challenged materials. In 2014, videos eclipsed books as the most challenged format, at 36% of the total challenges. Book and computer challenges each represented another third (32%) of the challenges. Yet the percent of challenges to books has declined by more than a third (36%) since 2013. The cause of these changes is not clear, but could be related to an increased diversity in the kinds of formats offered by public libraries, and/or changes in how formats are perceived by individuals.

Take a look at all of the data and trends from 2014 in the full Colorado Public Libraries Challenges Fast Facts report.

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.

Summer reading programs make a difference for Colorado families


Each year, Colorado public libraries offer engaging summer reading programs to encourage children and teens to read for fun and to prevent summer learning loss. In summer 2014, the Colorado State Library invited Colorado public libraries to ask parents in their communities to help evaluate the effectiveness of these programs by completing a survey. Sixteen libraries chose to participate, and 672 parents/caregivers completed the survey. About half of all respondents reported that their children’s enjoyment of reading, reading skills, and reading by choice increased after participating in summer reading. These outcomes were even more prevalent among families participating in summer reading for the first time and parents of children ages 4-6. About 3 in 5 families participating in summer reading for the first time reported that their children’s enjoyment of reading increased, and about 3 in 5 families of children ages 4-6 reported that their children’s reading by choice increased. Check out our new summer reading Fast Facts to learn more and read in parents’ own words the difference summer reading made for their families.

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.

Pleased Patrons: CTBL Maintains Excellent Service Record


The Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) provides free library services to more than 6,000 patrons who, because of physical, visual, or learning disabilities are unable to read standard print material. In 2012 a survey was given to patrons of CTBL, where they shared their thoughts about the library’s services. Of the 549 patrons who responded to the survey, nearly all (99%) rated their overall experience with CTBL as excellent or good. Respondents also rated a list of eight individual service components highly, especially “courtesy of library staff,” “completeness and condition of books received,” and “speed with which they receive their books” (at least 98% “excellent” or “good” ratings). Across the 5 CTBL patron surveys that have been conducted between 2004 and 2012, patron satisfaction ratings have been consistently high, indicating a sustained level of excellence in library services. For more information, see the Fast Facts and Closer Look Report.


Early Literacy Information on Colorado Public Library Websites

Our new Fast Facts presents the results of a study of the early literacy information available on Colorado public library websites. The findings indicated that most libraries broadly referenced early literacy information on their websites, but fewer referenced early literacy skills, discussed the long-term benefits of early literacy, or provided information on the importance of reading aloud.

The Fast Facts also links to an early literacy resource guide provided by the Colorado State Library that libraries can use on their own websites. With the 2013 One Book 4 Colorado event coming this spring, this resource may be particularly useful to libraries as they develop materials and plan activities for this event.



New Fast Facts: Colorado School Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2011-2012

Our newest Fast Facts uses data from the 2011-2012 Colorado School Library Survey to assess the degree to which public school libraries with endorsed librarians use web technologies. The results indicate that more school libraries offer basic web technologies (e.g., a website, OPAC) than Web 2.0-related technologies, such as wikis and Facebook. Additionally, use of these technologies varies in accordance with the grade level and enrollment of the school served. Middle schools are most likely to use Web 2.0 technologies, while school libraries at schools with more than 1,000 students are most likely to offer most of the technologies noted in the survey.


New Fast Facts: 21st-Century Instruction Strategies in Colorado School Libraries

Using data from the 2011-12 Colorado School Library Survey, our new Fast Facts examines how often endorsed school librarians engage in activities that foster students’ development of 21st-century skills. The results indicate that the most frequent activity across Colorado public school libraries with endorsed librarians, regardless of grade level or enrollment, was “teach students to use digital resources”; 7 in 10 respondents reported helping students develop this skill at least once a week. About 3 in 5 respondents reported that they help students apply critical thinking skills (61%) and use technology to organize and share information (59%) at least once a week.

Colorado’s Public Computer Centers: Bridging the Great Digital Divide

In September 2010, the Colorado State Library (CSL) secured a Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This grant funded 50 grantees to build or enhance Public Computer Centers (PCCs) in 88 high-need urban and rural communities in Colorado with high poverty rates, ethnic diversity, low broadband penetration, and/or limited access to public computers. Our new Fast Facts series provides highlights of the CSL BTOP project’s first year, including:

Visit CSL’s BTOP website to learn more about the project.



Banned Books Week and Public Library Challenges in Colorado

The upcoming Banned Books Week, from September 30-October 6, 2012, marks the 30th anniversary of this annual collaboration between  librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and all types of readers. ALA  and other organizations in these fields use this week to draw attention to issues of censorship and celebrate freedom of ideas by focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books.

In Colorado, 60 items were challenged in our public libraries in 2011. Our new Fast Facts report, Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2011,  gives more details on the types of items that were challenged (more religious books than ever before) and the results (just one book was removed from collections).

Read the report here, and learn more about Banned Books week, including events and displays nationwide, at


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