Archive for the Public Category

Our new American Libraries feature article– “Who’s the Boss”–is now available

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.

~Linda

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Who is in the Queue: Public Access Computer Users

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) just published the research brief:  “Who’s in the Queue? A Demographic Analysis of Public Access Computer Users and Uses in U.S. Public Libraries” by Carlos A. Manjarrez and Kyle Schoembs.

 Highlights from the report include:

• The demographic analysis in this brief dispels some myths about the beneficiaries of public access computer services in U.S. public libraries. Public access computer users largely resemble the general public in terms of age, education, and even in the overall level of home computer and Internet access.

 • The fact that many different people report that they are able to fulfill a wide variety of information needs is a clear indication that public libraries are providing much more than basic technology access

• Substantive uses of public access computers mirror the needs people have at different stages of the life course. Young people identify education activities as their main use, people between the ages of 25 and 54 identifying employment activities as their top use, and people 55 and older reporting health and wellness research as the main public access computer use.

Research brief link: http://www.imls.gov/pdf/Brief2011_04.pdf

Librarian Job Satisfaction Survey

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/

2010-2011 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Report Now Available

ALA officially released the 2010-2011 Public Library Funding & Technology Access report: http://www.ala.org/plinternetfunding

The full survey report, including state data, is available at http://plinternetsurvey.org/?q=node/13.  

Also available is a highly shareable executive summary: http://www.ala.org/ala/research/initiatives/plftas/2010_2011/plftas11-execsummary.pdf.  

Public Libraries Search and Compare Tool Updated

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services just announced the Public Libraries Search and Compare tools have been updated with the national FY 2009 Public Library Survey unimputed suppressed data.

Search tool: http://harvester.census.gov/imls/search/index.asp

Compare tool:  http://harvester.census.gov/imls/compare/index.asp

Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies: What’s Happening in Colorado?

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/

2010 Public Library Annual Report – Preliminary Data Posted

The preliminary data from the Public Library Annual Report is now available on LRS.org. See Colorado Public Library Statistics and Profiles at: http://www.lrs.org/pub_stats.php.

For access to Colorado Public Library Interactive Statistics (LRS-i), use the new interface at: http://www.lrs.org/public/stats.php?year=2010.

For Input-Output Measures, see: http://www.lrs.org/public/cannedstats.php?year=2010.

Over the next 4 weeks I will be conducting second-round edit checks before sending the data to Census for processing and more edit checks. If you have corrections or changes to your library’s data, just drop me an email or give me a call and we can make any necessary modifications.

Note, this year we used the 2010 Census data, as reported by the State Demography Office, for the legal service area (LSA) population figures. Compared with non-census years, some library jurisdictions will see a greater change in their LSA population in census years. Typically, we see population count corrections in census years because in the intervening years between the censuses, population counts are estimated.

Corrections? Problems? Questions?  Please contact me at: steffen_n@cde.state.co.us

~Nicolle

New Closer Look Report: U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies 2010

Libraries’ online presence is a constant topic of conversation, with anecdotal insights dominating the discussion. A broader picture of what libraries across the country – and throughout Colorado – are doing with web technologies and web 2.0 tools is a little harder to find.  That’s where LRS stepped in with a paint brush.

In spring 2010, LRS staff repeated its observational study (first conducted in 2008) of U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies. We visited the websites of 689 public libraries in the U.S., including all those in Colorado, to see what they were doing with their web presences. Our final report is now ready for your perusal, with some interesting findings related to the use of both older and newer web technologies, as well as the success of the libraries that have adopted these tools.

For starters, take a look at libraries’ use of Facebook.  It’s common knowledge that the social networking site is popular around the world, but just two years ago public libraries in the United States had hardly begun to investigate its potential as a way to reach their patrons.  Now, 1 in 3 public libraries across the country (32%) have a Facebook account.  The chart below shows how much Facebook use has increased in libraries of all sizes since 2008.

While social media sites have taken off in public libraries, adoption of other tools has slowed. Basic web services such as online account access showed little increase, as did email reference and blogs. Chat reference is still the most popular virtual reference tool in Colorado, with a much higher percentage of libraries in the state than in the nation offering the service.

It’s interesting to know what libraries are doing to enhance their web offerings, but do their efforts go unrewarded? Based on our analysis of “Early Adopters” – those libraries that scored in the top 20 percent of their population groups on our index of Web 2.0 technology adoption – libraries that were experimenting with these features reported higher numbers for traditional measures of library success, such as visits and circulation (see the chart below). This was true for almost all inputs and outputs – everything from staffing and funding to reference questions and program attendance.

Yes, it is true that overall, Early Adopters enjoyed more resources—human and financial—than non-early adopters, which logically makes it easier for them to invest in more and newer web technologies. But even when controlling for staff and collection expenditures, Early Adopter status was still a significant predictor of higher visits, circulation, and program attendance. Furthermore, libraries that were Early Adopters in the first study experienced greater increases than non-early adopters in visits and circulation between 2008 and 2010.

Check out the full report for more details on what libraries are up to with their websites and online presences:  U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2010. Coming soon is a brief Fast Facts highlighting the Colorado results.  Questions or comments? We’d love to hear them!

~Jamie H.

Preliminary Public Library Data Now Available

Attn: Public Library Directors & PLAR Respondents

Preliminary data from the 2010 Public Library Annual Report (PLAR) is now available in an Excel spreadsheet and ready for your review. There is still time for revisions, so please let me know if you have any changes to your library’s data. A more current version of the data will be available on LRS-i the last week in April.

Please note, this preliminary data does not include complete data for libraries that had not submitted reports prior to March 23, 2011. In addition, the data is not verified (i.e., it has not been through all phases of edit checks).

~Nicolle
steffen_n@cde.state.co.us

The Impact of the Recession on Public Library Use in Colorado

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

~Linda

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LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs. We partner with the Library and Information Science program at University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education to provide research fellowships to current MLIS students.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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