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.
Are you interested in finding events related to research and statistics at ALA Annual? Here are some of the sessions that are on our radar:
Friday, June 22:
1:30 pm-3:00 pm ARL Library Assessment Forum
Saturday, June 23:
10:30 am-12:00 pm Write For It! Jump Start Your Research Agenda and Join the Conversation (ALCTS)
1:30 pm-2:00 pm National Statistics for Local Advocacy? You Betcha! (COLA, ORS)
Sunday, June 24:
10:30 am-12:00 pm The Rise of E-Reading (OITP)
10:30 am-12:00 pm PLAmetrics User Group and Demonstration (PLA)
10:30 am-12:00 pm Research on Library Use and Users (LRRT)
1:00 pm-2:30 pm Fun with Numbers: Opportunities and Challenges in Collecting Library Use Data (ALA)
1:30 pm-3:30 pm 18th Annual Reference Research Forum (RUSA)
1:30 pm-3:30 pm Let the Data Talk: Communicating Assessment Results to Stakeholders (LLAMA)
Monday, June 25
10:30 am-12:00 pm Seeing is Believing: Understanding Data Visualization for Library Research (ORS)
1:30 pm-3:30 pm Riding the Publishing Rollercoaster: Practical Strategies from Research to Writing (ACRL)
To see a complete listing of sessions related to research, go to the scheduler and narrow by the subject “Research and Statistics.”
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.
Comparisons between the 2010 ALA-APA Annual Salary Survey and the 2010 Public Library Annual Report (PLAR) compiled by the Library Research Service show that across professional library positions in Colorado, salaries are pretty evenly matched with national averages, with the exception of library directors. Within Colorado and nationally, library professionals in large and very large public libraries out-earn their peers in medium-sized libraries. Read the latest Fast Facts to find out where your salary falls on the Colorado and national public library pay scales: “A Brief Look at Librarian Salaries in U.S. and Colorado Public Libraries.”
Pew researchers gave a presentation at COSLA‘s spring meeting this week, “Public Libraries in the Digital Age.” The presentation slides as well as fact sheets on e-reading and Pew’s timeline for their 3-year study of libraries can be found at this link: http://pewinternet.org/Presentations/2012/Apr/Public-libraries-in-the-digital-age.aspx.
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