Archive for the Public Category

Colorado’s public libraries report 29 challenges in 2013

2013 PLAR challenges

Each year, LRS reviews the Public Library Annual Report for information specifically about challenges: How many items were challenged, reasons for the challenges, and what happened as a result of the challenges. In our newest Fast Facts, we take a deeper look into the results as a snapshot of intellectual freedom issues in Colorado for 2013.

What’s the verdict? After a peak of 87 in 2004, overall numbers of challenges have gradually decreased, reaching a 10-year low of just 29 challenges in 2013. As for the challenges themselves, most attributes have held fairly steady over time. For the past 5 years, the most common action taken after a challenge is filed is no action at all—items aren’t moved or reclassified, simply left as is—presumably after library staff provide additional information on collection development policies. Top reasons for challenges have typically included “sexually explicit,” “unsuited to age group,” and “violence.” Books continue to be the most common format of challenged items, while video has consistently held second place for the past 5 years.

However, one shift in the nature of public library challenges is the intended audience of the challenged materials—adults, young adults, or children. Adults have consistently held the No. 1 spot as the intended audience for challenged materials, but No. 2 has gradually shifted from children to young adult. In fact, in 2013 young adults were the intended audience of 29% of challenges with a specified audience—up nearly 180% from 2012.

Check out other trends from 2013’s public library trends in the full Fast Facts report. Did your library have any challenges last year?

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Research Institute for Public Libraries – Summer 2015

ripl

Are you…

… a public librarian, administrator, or other staff interested in getting started using data for savvy and strategic planning?

… looking for both inspiration and instruction in a hands-on, participatory environment?

… seeking to learn about outcomes and how to measure library impact?

… committed to leading your organization in making data-based decisions?

…eager to develop a peer network  to support your research and evaluation efforts?

The Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) will bring together people from across the country (rural, suburban, and urban public libraries) in a sequestered environment in Colorado Springs, Colorado for intensive, experiential learning. From July 27-30, 2015, participants will learn in hands-on workshops topics such as:

  • designing outcome-based evaluation of programs and services
  • assessing the needs of your community
  • techniques for tracking public library data and using these data for planning, management, and proving worth to your community
  • using data and stories to demonstrate library impact
  • aligning research efforts with national initiatives such as Edge Benchmarks and the Impact Survey

 Mark your calendar!

 Enrollment opens January 5, 2015 –and only 75 participants will take part in this immersive learning experience.

If your organization would like to be a sponsor, please see http://ripl.lrs.org/docs/RIPL_Sponsorship_Levels.pdf

Want to connect with others who are interested in public library research and evaluation? Join PL-EVAL, a new listserv where you can ask questions, share ideas, and learn from experiences across the field.

 This event is hosted by the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Library Consortium. Questions? Please contact ripl.publib@gmail.com

 

Makerspaces in Libraries

maker

Image credit: Anythink Libraries

This week, we’re taking a break from the Weekly Number to highlight our other blog series, “Beyond Books.”

In our last Beyond Books post, we mentioned Denver Public Library’s ideaLAB, a space for teens to make and play with all things digital media. A small survey released last year shows makerspaces are becoming a solid programming choice for libraries, with 41% of respondents currently offering maker activities and 36% planning to start in the near future. Here are just a few that have caught our eye recently:

  • The Studio – Anythink Wright Farms, Colorado
  • Bad art – alt+library by the Sacramento Public Library, California
  • Hand-Made – programs inspired by crafty items in library’s collection, New York Public Library, New York
  • The Bubbler – programs on making/crafting/writing, etc., Madison Public Library, Wisconsin
  • MACH, a space for makers, artists, crafters, and hackers – Phoenix Public Library, Arizona

Want to get into making at your library? Check out the State Library’s resources on Library Creation & Learning Centers here: http://create.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/. And share your favorite makerspaces with us on Twitter!

Note: This post is part of our “Beyond Books” series. From time to time, we’ll be sharing examples of unique lending programs, events, and outreach that libraries are offering.

96% of Colorado public libraries offer general computer skills training

Digital Inclusion

Image credit: Digital Inclusion Survey

Full results from the new Digital Inclusion Survey are now available! We shared some features of this public library study a couple of months ago, but since then the entire set of 2013 results have been added to the interactive tools, reports, and state details. Even better: A two-page talking points handout outlines key highlights from the study and offers easy advocacy messaging you can use right away.

The state details neatly organize results for each state and compare them to the national picture. For Colorado, here are a few areas where the state is ahead of the U.S.:

  • Mean number of public computers/laptops: 26.2 in Colorado, 19.8 nationwide
  • Mobile apps: 55% of Colorado public libraries, 43% nationally
  • Offer general computer skills training: 96% of Colorado libraries, 91% nationwide
  • Offer programs on applying for a job: 80% of Colorado libraries, 74% nationally
  • Offer programs on online business information resources: 66% of Colorado libraries, 56% nationally
  • Host creation events like maker spaces: 26% of Colorado libraries, 21% nationwide

You can find the entire Colorado breakdown here. And be sure to check out the executive summary and full report for an in-depth look at the national results, including locale breakdowns (rural, town, suburb, etc.) and emerging trends (maker events, 3D printers, etc.).

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

90% of Colorado libraries received state funds in 2013-14

State grants 2013-14

In 2013, the Colorado State Legislature granted $2 million for libraries to support or enhance early literacy and early learning educational materials. For 2014-15, this funding was renewed and the application period is open now! In the meantime, we’re taking a look back to highlight how 2013-14 went.

Through a non-competitive grant process, each eligible library received $3,000 plus remaining funds designated on a per capita basis. You can find a breakdown of the 2013-14 awards here. For 41 libraries, the grant more than doubled their collection budgets. Nine in 10 Colorado libraries received funding: 88% of all academic libraries, 94% of all public libraries, and 91% of all school and youth correctional libraries. Don’t miss the infographic that breaks down awards by county and highlights stories from grant recipients.

Here are just a few quotes from libraries about how they used their funds last year:

  • We used the funds from the State Library Grant to purchase children’s books to add to our collection we have in our Capulin satellite library. The children were very excited to see and read the new books. We have seen more children and parents coming and using the library since we have the new books. – Conejos County Library District
  • The grant is being used to partially fund Pebble Go for our elementary schools. Schools use the data base to access informational text for all levels of reader. Being able to access informational text that is appropriate for our younger readers and is important in supporting Colorado Academic Standards. – Mesa County Valley 51
  • We are one of the busiest academic libraries in the state. During the spring, summer, and fall semesters, our library is packed with students studying, researching, and preparing for their classes. This grant helped us pay for one of our most important online databases EBSCOHost, which can be used by students both in the library, on campus, and remotely. – Auraria Library

New to state grants? Learn more through an introductory webinar on August 26 at 9:00am. And visit the State Grants to Libraries website for details on eligibility, purchasing recommendations, and reporting details.

Receive a grant in 2013-14? Share your stories with us on Twitter!

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

61% of library user quiz-takers say their library’s closing would have a major impact on them

Pew_typology quiz results

Image credit: Pew Internet Project

We recently shared Pew Internet Project’s new community quiz tool for libraries to find out how engaged their users are. Now Pew has released some data about the more than 15,000 library users who’ve already used the quiz and compared them to their national library typology findings.

Of course the results aren’t really surprising: More than 6 in 10 of the quiz-takers fall into the “Library Lover” category, which was just 10% of the national study. About a quarter (26%) of quiz-takers were in the “Information Omnivore” category, a bit closer to the national picture with 20% falling into this type. These folks are the ones who really get what libraries are all about, too: 3 in 5 (61%) say the closure of their local library would have a major impact on them or their families, twice as many as the overall group (29%).

This group is also active with library services: More than 9 in 10 (94%) have a library card and about 9 in 10 visited a library in person (87%) or through the website (88%) in the past year. Nationally, 61% have a library card, about half (48%) visited a library in the past year, and just 30% used a library website in the past year.

Create your own library user quiz here. Best of all, you and your community will be able to see aggregate group results—share your findings with us on Twitter!

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Kids involved in summer reading program were up to two times more likely to read every day

summer_reading

Image credit: East Lansing Public Library

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), a children’s literacy nonprofit, recently released results of a summer reading survey it undertook with Macy’s. More than 1,000 parents of 5- to 11-year-olds were asked about their opinions about their child’s reading habits and summer reading. (We should also point out that this survey was “intended to gain mediagenic findings” for an RIF campaign in partnership with Macy’s.)

Parents reported their child reading more during the summer, spending an average 5.9 hours per week reading books, than during the school year, with an average 5.4 hours reading per week. In addition, the results indicated that children who participated in a reading program last summer were up to two times more likely to read every day. More than 8 in 10 (83%) parents felt it was extremely or very important that their child read during the summer. Parents who felt this way were twice as likely to say their child read a book at least 4 times a week last summer when compared to parents who felt reading was somewhat or not at all important.

At the same time, reading was not considered the most important activity for their child: Nearly half (49%) said playing outside was the most important activity they wanted their child to do this summer, while less than 1 in 5 (17%) said reading books was the most important activity.

Libraries were the major book provider for parents: A full 3 out of 4 parents said they borrowed books from the library for their child to read during the summer. More than 4 in 5 (86%) ever visited a library with their child, with 30% going to the library at least once a week last summer.

Read the full executive summary here to learn more about what children read during the summer, their preferences, and their parents’ opinions about summer reading.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Median academic librarian pay in 2013 was $53,000

LJ Salary Survey 2014

Image credit: Library Journal

Library Journal recently released results from its first Salary Survey for U.S. librarians and paralibrarians, across all library types. This new survey is a bit different than those we’ve talked about before in Weekly Number posts here and here and Fast Facts reports like this one: It isn’t tied to a particular library type or position category. Library Journal received responses from more than 3,200 librarians of all types—public to special to consortia—from all 50 states.

School librarians had the highest median salary of $58,000, and public librarians had the lowest at $47,446. Having the MLIS degree made a big difference in academic and public libraries: Staff with MLIS degrees earned almost 50% more than those without the degree. But for school librarians, the MLIS degree offered a median pay jump of just about $3,500 compared to non-degreed librarians. Two-thirds received a pay increase last year, with a median raise of 1.5%.

The survey also asked about job satisfaction, and the picture isn’t great: Less than a third (31%) said they were “very satisfied” with their jobs, and just 27% said they felt they had opportunities to advance in their role. Less than a quarter (23%) of those with part-time work reported being “very satisfied” with their jobs.

Part-time status is still a reality for many librarians, according to the survey: 16% of public librarians, and 6% of academic and school librarians said they worked part-time. Perhaps most telling is the fact that half of those part-timers had an MLIS degree.

You can peruse the tables from the report here and additional data here. And keep your eye out for our annual review of Library Jobline’s data to give you an idea of how the library job market and pay is shaping up based on last year’s job posts.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

What kind of library users are in your community?

pew_quiz

Image credit: Pew Internet

Back in April, we blogged about a new Pew Internet Project study that clustered Americans into various groups based on their connection to libraries. The study’s results showed that the majority of Americans are at least somewhat engaged with their libraries–3 in 10 are highly engaged and 4 in 10 have a medium level of engagement.

Do you wonder what these results would be like in your community?  Today, Pew released a new community quiz tool that any library can use to see how engaged their users are. Click here to find out how to administer this quiz to your community. And, let us know what you learn about your users by connecting with us on Twitter!

U.S. public libraries had 1.52 BILLION visits in FY 2011

IMLS2011

Image credit: IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) just released its Fiscal Year 2011 Public Libraries in the United States Report, an annual report that aggregates data from all U.S. public libraries to tease out national trends and state-by-state comparisons. For the first time, this analysis included looking at the relationship between public library investments—revenue, staffing, and resources—and usage—visitation, circulation, program attendance, and computer use. Long story short: “When investment increases, use increases, and when investment decreases, use decreases, and these relationships persist over time.”

Want more specifics? When book and e-book volumes, programs, public access computers, and staffing went up, so did physical visits. When libraries offered more public access Internet computers, computer use went up. When programming and staffing went up, so did program attendance. And when collections and programs increased, so did circulation.

With digital and e-offerings, the picture is a little less clear. Physical visits decreased when investments in e-materials increased, which may be expected if patrons can use more library resources without stepping in the building. However, the report points out an issue near and dear to our hearts here at LRS: We need new survey questions to truly understand what’s happening with e-resources and the delivery and services associated with them.

Take a look at the full report, available here. And for a closer look at Colorado and other states, check out the state profile page. You can also access and manipulate Colorado’s data via our interactive tool.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

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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.

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