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.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced the release of the 2009 Public Libraries Survey (PLS) data. It is available on the IMLS web site at: http://harvester.census.gov/imls/data/pls/index.asp. All 50 states and the District of Columbia participate in the Public Libraries Survey every year and the collection includes data on visitation, circulation, the availability and use of library computing resources, staffing, library collections and services, and fiscal information such as operating revenue and expenditures.
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.
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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