Pew Research has posted a timeline of the various research activities they will engage in for their 2-year study of libraries (funded by the Gates Foundation). Their first major report from this study, on e-reading, has received widespread coverage over the past week. Upcoming activities include:
- a survey of librarians regarding e-books,
- studies on library use by community type and habits of younger library users,
- a study on the role of libraries in special populations, and
- a study of library users’ needs and experiences, from which library user typologies will be developed.
Pew Research is also looking for volunteer study participants. If you’re a librarian working in a public library that has e-books available for checkout, or if you ever check out or download e-books from a public library, you can sign up here.
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.
Preliminary data from the 2011 Colorado Public Library Annual Report is now available: http://www.lrs.org/documents/plstat11/preliminary_2011_public_library_data_20120403.xls
A few libraries are still working on getting their data in, however, the vast majority have submitted their reports. The data is considered preliminary until we receive data from all public libraries and all edit checks have been resolved.
About Edit checks
The first round of edit checks are done before respondents complete and submit the survey. The second, third, and even fourth, round of edit checks are done by state library staff (read: me) in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau, the federal agency that collects and verifies the public library data for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Questions? Need more information? Contact me at steffen_n at cde.state.co.us.
Thanks to all the public library directors (and their staff) for submitting data for the PLAR.
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.
In a press release issued today, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) confirmed what most public library staff already knew—library visits are up, way up. In the last decade public libraries were visited 1.59 billion times, a 24.4% increase in visits per capita and total visits increase of almost 40%.
From IMLS: “The Institute’s analysis of the data showed that per capita visits and circulation rose in the century’s first decade. The number of public libraries increased during that period but not enough to keep pace with the rise in population. Library staffing remained stable, though the percentage of public libraries with degreed and accredited librarians increased.
The report also found that the nature and composition of collections in U.S. public libraries is changing, indicating that library collections are becoming more varied. Although the volume of print materials decreased over the 10 years studied, collections overall continued to grow because of increases in the number of audio, video, and electronic book materials.
The role of public libraries in providing Internet resources to the public also continued to increase. According to the report, the availability of Internet-ready computer terminals in public libraries doubled over the course of the decade.”
Press release: http://www.imls.gov/library_visits_at_historic_high.aspx
The 2009 Public Libraries Survey report has been released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). See the report at: https://harvester.census.gov/imls/pubs/Publications/pls2009.pdf.
Based on data from public libraries in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, highlights from the 2009 Public Library Survey (PLS) include:
* Visitation and circulation per capita have both increased in public libraries over the past 10 years. Per capita visitation increased 5 percent from the prior year. Visitation and circulation were highest in suburban public libraries.
* The number of public libraries has increased over the past 10 years. However, this growth has been outpaced by changes in the population.
* The nature and composition of collections in U.S. public libraries is changing, indicating the more varied types of materials found in modern public libraries. Although the volume of print materials has decreased over the past 10 years, collections overall continue to grow because of increases in the number of audio, video, and electronic book materials.
* The role of public libraries in providing Internet resources to the public continues to increase. The availability of Internet-ready computer terminals in public libraries has doubled over the past 10 years. Internet PC use has also increased.
* Public libraries have increased their program offerings to meet increased demand and to allow for more individualized attention through smaller class sizes. This is particularly true of public libraries in rural areas, where the number of programs per capita and attendance per capita are both higher than the national average.
IMLS Research PLS web page: http://www.imls.gov/research/public_libraries_in_the_united_states_survey.aspx
The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the role of the public library in the digital age. Over a three year period, they will conduct national surveys, surveys of library patrons, and focus groups to assess library use and preferences in the midst of the changing digital landscape.
You can find more information about this initiative at http://pewinternet.org/Press-Releases/2011/Gates.aspx.
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
A magic percentage for public libraries, really. “How is it magic,” you ask. It is the response rate each state must reach in order to have state-level reports from the National Survey of Public Library Funding and Technology Access (PLFTAS). Reports like the State Briefs found here: http://plinternetsurvey.org/advocacy/state-details?id=CO.
Want to be part of the magic?
Take the survey here: http://plftas.pnmi.com/
Look up you library’s survey id here: http://plftas.pnmi.com/lookup.cfm?CO
More information here: http://www.plinternetsurvey.org/
This survey provides important information about computer and Internet resources and infrastructure, as well as funding, technology training, and other uses of public libraries, such as providing public access technology centers in their communities. The data from this study has been used in many influential ways, including:
* U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the Children’s Internet Protection Act (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-361.ZO.html)
* U.S. Statistical Abstracts (http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s1153.pdf)
* MSNBC’s “Libraries Lend a Hand in Tough Times” (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/31237988#31237988)
* NPR’s “Digital Challenges for U.S. Public Libraries” (http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2010/06/21/127990542/digital-challenges-for-u-s-public-libraries)
* U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services report “Catalyst for Change: LSTA Grants to States Program Activities and the Transformation of Library Services to the Public” (http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2010/06/21/127990542/digital-challenges-for-u-s-public-libraries)
Have questions, need more information? Please call 301-405-9445 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for survey support. Survey administrators monitor the support e-mail account from 9 AM – 5 PM (ET), Monday through Friday. For other information and updates, you call follow the survey/report on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/iPAC_UMD.
We have an article in the September 2011 issue of Computer in Libraries, “U.S. Public Libraries and Web Technologies: What’s Happening Now?”. It highlights the findings from a study about public libraries’ use of Web 2.0 technologies that we released last spring (available as a Closer Look report). Key findings from the study included that:
- 80% of U.S. public libraries serving LSA populations of 500,000+ had a Facebook account in 2010. More than half (58%) of libraries serving 100,000-499,999 people were on Facebook, as were 56% of libraries serving 25,000-99,999 people.
- In 2010, 66% of public libraries serving LSA populations of 500,000+ had a Twitter account.
- Even when controlling for staff and collection expenditures, being an “early adopter” library (i.e., libraries in the top 20% of their population group in terms of Web 2.0 adoption) was a significant predictor of visits, circulation, and program attendance.
Colorado-specific findings from this study are available in a Fast Facts.