Our new Fast Facts discusses recent trends in public school librarian staffing and student enrollment. Based on an analysis of National Center for Education Statistics data, public school librarian staffing numbers remained relatively stable from 2004-05 (the first year this data was reported) to 2007-08. However, these positions nationwide declined by 8 percent from 2007-08 to 2010-11, while the total number of students increased by 2 percent. In Colorado, this gap was more pronounced: school librarian positions fell by 9 percent during this time period, while the total number of students rose by 5 percent.
Our new Fast Facts, “ALA-MLS Librarian Staffing in Colorado and U.S. Public Libraries,” will pique the interest of anyone who has wondered about the distribution of librarians to ALA-MLS-accredited librarians, or about the proportions of librarians to other staff, in Colorado or the U.S. at large. Based on an analysis of Colorado and national public library staffing data, we found that in spite of the recent recession, these ratios have remained relatively stable over time, and that Colorado is keeping pace with national trends. The Fast Facts is available here.
Forbes.com recently posted an article on “The Best And Worst Master’s Degrees For Jobs,” and a Master’s in Library and Information Science was ranked the No. 1 worst degree. These rankings were based on mid-career median pay and estimated rate of growth of careers in 35 popular degrees. The results of our 60-second poll “The Value of an MLIS to You,” however, show a different picture of the degree’s worth, one beyond monetary potential. Those who completed the survey were certainly concerned about the job market and salaries, but our respondents also left lengthy comments about the intrinsic rewards of the profession, and 79% agreed that the degree was worth the time and money invested.
Read the full report with analysis of the comments here, or see the highlights in our Fast Facts report.
Edited to add: ALA President Maureen Sullivan has a nice response to the Forbes article in the Washington Post.
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.
Every year, LRS collects information from Colorado public libraries on challenges to their materials and services. 66 challenges were reported in 2010, with challenges to Internet sites and videos both surpassing books for the first time. Read our latest Fast Facts for more: Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2010.
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.
LRS’s newest Fast Facts, “Web 2.0 and Colorado Public Libraries: 2010 Update,” highlights the Colorado findings from our 2010 nationwide study of U.S. public libraries and their use of web technologies. Colorado’s results generally mirrored those of libraries nationwide, although it is ahead of its peers in areas such as web presence among libraries that serve less than 10,000 people, and the availability of chat reference service and RSS feeds. One in 3 (34%) Colorado public libraries has a Facebook account, about the same proportion as libraries nationwide. For more information, you can access the Fast Facts at: http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/296_WebTech2010.pdf. Or, to view the complete results of the study, as well as the first iteration of the study (from 2008), go to http://www.lrs.org/public/webtech/
There appears to be more competition than ever for Colorado’s library jobs, based on recent activity on LibraryJobline.org. A new Fast Facts about the jobs posted on the site over the past four years has just been published: “Colorado’s Library Job Climate: 2007-2010: Insights from LibraryJobline.org” highlights trends in total job postings, salaries, degree requirements, and the most popular jobs from the site. Job postings are up slightly from 2009, but drastically more people are viewing them, and part-time, temporary positions continue to replace full-time, permanent ones. Click on the title above to view the full report.
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
Every year, LRS collects information from Colorado public libraries on challenges to their materials and services. Nearly 1 in 5 libraries reported a total of 48 challenges in 2009, the lowest number in a decade. For more details on the reasons for and results of those challenges, read our latest Fast Facts: Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2009.
~ Jamie H.