Archive for the Public Category

Summer reading programs make a difference for Colorado families


Each year, Colorado public libraries offer engaging summer reading programs to encourage children and teens to read for fun and to prevent summer learning loss. In summer 2014, the Colorado State Library invited Colorado public libraries to ask parents in their communities to help evaluate the effectiveness of these programs by completing a survey. Sixteen libraries chose to participate, and 672 parents/caregivers completed the survey. About half of all respondents reported that their children’s enjoyment of reading, reading skills, and reading by choice increased after participating in summer reading. These outcomes were even more prevalent among families participating in summer reading for the first time and parents of children ages 4-6. About 3 in 5 families participating in summer reading for the first time reported that their children’s enjoyment of reading increased, and about 3 in 5 families of children ages 4-6 reported that their children’s reading by choice increased. Check out our new summer reading Fast Facts to learn more and read in parents’ own words the difference summer reading made for their families.

One-third of African Americans and Latinos have used Wi-Fi access at public libraries


Image credit: WifiForward

Public, free Wi-Fi access has exploded in recent years – essentially all public libraries now offer it – but only now are we beginning to get a fuller picture of how essential these services are to many communities.

ALA’s District Dispatch recently reported on a survey conducted by WifiForward about Americans’ usage of and attitudes toward public Wi-Fi networks. A majority of Americans have used a public access Wi-Fi network, often in a public library, and also feel that Wi-Fi networks have a positive impact on themselves and the community.

For African American and Latino populations, public Wi-Fi is particularly important, and one third of each of these communities has used the Internet via a public library Wi-Fi network. African Americans and Latinos who do use Wi-Fi also experience more positive impacts of the Internet. Among these communities, well over half indicate that access to the Internet helps them with education, saving time, job searches, and creative activities.

The fact that essentially all public libraries now offer Wi-Fi is clearly a victory, yet there are still many ways in which libraries and other public Wi-Fi providers can improve service and ensure the security of users. In fact, a large majority of all community groups surveyed (86% of whites, 85% of African Americans, and 84% of Latinos) think providers should focus more on the security of users’ information.

So far, this survey is one of the most thorough looks at how access to Wi-Fi networks influences the attitudes and behavior of different communities. You can delve into the full report here.

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.

615 jobs posted on Library Jobline in 2014


For our popular library job posting website, Library Jobline, 2014 was a spectacular year! In our newest Fast Facts report, we report a total of 615 jobs were posted in 2014—the most ever since we launched the service in 2007—and up a whopping 170% since 2009, the lowest year for job posts in the middle of the recession. Average wages also hit new highs for posts requiring ($25.31 per hour) or preferring ($24.45 per hour) the MLIS degree.

Library Jobline also became an increasingly national tool. In 2014, we had the most-ever posts for positions located outside Colorado, with the year-end picture split nearly evenly between Colorado (51%) and other states (49%). With more than 600 job seekers and more than 130 employers added in 2014 alone, jobs posted on Library Jobline also reached a wider audience. In fact, we sent the most emails ever—more than 617,000—about new job posts, and job posts were viewed nearly 430,000 times.

Are you hiring at your library? In the library job market yourself? Sign up for Library Jobline as an employer or jobseeker. Jobseekers can tell us what jobs they’re interested in and get emails sent straight to their inbox whenever new posts meet their criteria. And employers can reach more than 3,500 jobseekers and more than 600 followers on Twitter @libraryjobline.

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.

More than 75,000 books given away during One Book 4 Colorado in 2014

OB4CO 2015 FF

Founded in 2012, One Book 4 Colorado (OB4CO) is a statewide annual initiative that offers free copies of the same book to every 4-year-old in Colorado. In 2014, the book was Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard. More than 75,000 books were given away at more than 500 sites, including public libraries, Reach Out and Read Health Clinics, and Denver Preschool Program preschool classrooms.

LRS surveyed both caregivers and participating agencies to learn more about the impact OB4CO had on families, children, and agencies. As reported in our newest Fast Facts, overall more than 3 out of 5 caregivers agreed that they spent more time reading with their child after receiving the book (64%), their child talked more about books and reading (62%), and their child was more interested in books and reading (64%). Parents with fewer books in their homes had higher levels of agreement with those statements.

Participating agencies also shared positive feedback about OB4CO. Nearly all (99%) of agency respondents agreed that children were excited to receive Grumpy Bird. More than 9 in 10 (92%) agreed that the program helped their agencies promote reading among children, and 88% agreed that OB4CO was an effective use of their time and effort. Agencies also appreciated collaborating with others in the program, with more than 7 in 10 (71%) agreeing that OB4CO provided an opportunity to reach out to other agencies interested in childhood education.

Voting for the OB4CO selection for 2015 is underway now! Watch videos of Colorado celebrities reading the book options here, then vote for your favorite! Voting is open until March 1.

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.

Top 10 Library Mascots


Image credits: Oak Park Public Library, Poudre River Public Library District, and Princeton Public Library

Library cats are all the rage, at least according to Mental Floss, Flavorwire, and of course, the famous Dewey. But some libraries are going a step further with official library mascots to showcase the library during programs, outreach events, and around the community. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Colorado’s Poudre River Library District has a new mascot, Piercival—better known as Percy—the owl
  • Baxter, the Maine Coon Cat Library Mascot, Maine
  • Ernie the cat at Bealeton Library, Virginia
  • Curious the Chameleon at Calgary Public Library, Canada
  • Stacks the cat at Litchfield Public Library District, Illinois
  • Ralph and Mudge the gerbils at Oak Park Public Library, Illinois
  • Roary the lion at Princeton Public Library, New Jersey
  • Dewey the Dragon at Burbank Public Library, California
  • Buddy the Bookworm at North Las Vegas Public Library, Nevada
  • Ohio the Orangutan at Mansfield/Richland County Public Library, Ohio

There’s also a compilation of Unshelved comic strips, Library Mascot Cage Match, in case you’re wondering how your favorite mascot would fare in a fight.

Does your library have a mascot? How does your mascot help with programs and outreach? Tell us about it 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.

93 million people attended a program at a public library in FY2012


Image credit: IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) just released its Public Libraries in the United States Report for Fiscal Year 2012, which is based on a survey of 97% of public libraries across the United States and parses out national and state-by-state trends. We contribute data to this survey about Colorado’s public libraries through our Public Library Annual Report. (And data collection for 2014 is open now!)

In this latest report, general post-recession trends—such as declines in revenue, staffing, circulation, and visits—from the last couple of years have continued or remained stable. Public libraries continued to see a positive link between investment and usage. Libraries that had more full-time staff and programs, for example, also had increases in circulation and visits.

There were 1.5 billion in-person visitors to public libraries in FY2012, about the same as FY2011 and up 21% in the past 10 years. Public libraries also reported considerable growth in the circulation of e-books and downloadable audio and video. Nearly 93 million people attended a program at a public library in FY2012, more than a 50% increase in the past 10 years. Children’s programs were especially popular, so even as many visits migrate online, the library’s place as a community center seems firmly established.

You can peruse the full report here and also access at the state-by-state profiles for comparison. And as always, take a look at Colorado’s data with 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.

Library Journal Survey reports median size of e-book collection in U.S. public libraries exceeds 10,000


Image credit: Library Journal

In their fifth annual study of e-book usage in U.S. public libraries, Library Journal found that while e-book demand is still on the rise, there has been a significant waning in its intensity, based on the responses from the 538 libraries that participated in their survey. LJ suggests that a strong possibility for this apparent tapering off of enthusiasm is the fact that nearly all (95%) of public libraries now offer e-books, so their widespread adoption may mean that they have successfully integrated into mainstream reading practices. The rise of tablets seems to have helped, as tablets have edged out dedicated e-book readers as the most popular devices on which to access e-books.

The little resistance to e-books that does remain is due to a lack of funding for e-book collections and concern over the ease of use, according to LJ.   However, a limited collection is no longer a major factor inhibiting e-book usage. U.S. public libraries spent nearly $113 million on e-books in the 2014 fiscal year (on average 7% of each library’s budget), and the median size of e-book collections now exceeds 10,000. Respondents indicated that adult titles account for more than two-thirds of e-book collections, so there is still plenty of room to grow in children’s and young adult titles.

What is next for the future of e-book usage in U.S. public libraries, then? Based on survey responses, LJ predicts that e-books will continue to see increased demand and steady rather than drastic circulation growth. Small and medium sized libraries are still working to catch up to their larger counterparts in terms of e-book offerings, but e-reader lending remains the most popular among this population group. None of the numbers provided by the survey seemed to indicate that e-books were a threat to traditional print. Instead, LJ suggests that e-books are increasingly seen as a complement to other formats. In other words, they are simply becoming more firmly entrenched among the variety of formats that we may interact with on a day to day basis.

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.

Congratulations to the 10 Colorado Star Libraries!


Image credit: Library Journal

Congratulations to the 10 Colorado libraries that were named Star Libraries by the 2014 Library Journal Index of Public Library Service! Out of all the states included in the report, Colorado was one of only 9 where 10 or more libraries were named Star Libraries. The 10 star libraries are:

  • Arapahoe
  • Denver
  • Douglas County
  • La Junta
  • LaVeta
  • Limon
  • Ordway
  • Ridgway
  • San Miguel/Telluride
  • Swink

Star Libraries are determined based on output data, which is one of three major types of data that libraries can collect (the other types are inputs and outcomes). Output measures used to calculate the Star Libraries Index are circulation, visits, program attendance, and internet use. These measurements are valuable in determining the volume of various services that a library produces. It is possible that new outputs will be included in the Star Libraries index soon: In 2015, public libraries will begin reporting e-circulation as part of the annual Public Library Survey, and in 2016, data about Wi-Fi access usage.

While output data is required for libraries to collect and provides worthwhile information about how much of a variety of services is being provided, an entirely different, voluntary type of data called outcomes is essential in gaining a better picture of the long-range effectiveness of public library services. Outcome data, as opposed to output data, measures the impact of changes experienced by users as a result of library services, rather than just the sheer number of services produced by the library. Outcomes measure impacts such as knowledge gained or developments in overall attitude, status, or condition. While outcomes can be difficult to quantify because the data largely relies on self-reported surveys from library patrons, outcomes are important because they help to more accurately gauge the library’s economic, social, and cultural import to individuals and the community as a whole. Want to know more about outcomes? This year’s Star Libraries article contains a nice overview on outcomes and how they differ from outputs.

If you want to learn more about how to design compelling evaluations that can demonstrate the value of your library in the community, consider attending the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) on July 27-30, 2015 in Colorado Springs to learn how effective input, output, and outcome data can do just that.

If you work in a Colorado public library or are a Colorado-based MLIS student interested in working in a public library, the Colorado State Library is offering up to 15 full scholarships to RIPL! Find more information and apply here. Hurry! Scholarship applications are due by 5 PM on Friday, November 14, 2014. Otherwise, enrollment opens on January 5, 2015.

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 Scholarship Opportunity


Are you interested in learning how to use data for decision making, strategic planning, and demonstrating the impact of your library? Do you work in a Colorado public library, or are you a current MLIS student interested in working in a public library? Then we hope you will consider applying for a scholarship for next summer’s Research Institute for Public Libraries:

The Colorado State Library is offering up to 15 full scholarships to the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) in July 2015. This national event, hosted by the Colorado State Library and CLiC, will offer three days of hands-on, intensive workshops about:

  • Evaluation design and implementation
  • Data collection and use for strategic planning
  • Measures for reporting library impact
  • Tips for aligning research efforts with national initiatives such as Edge Benchmarks and the Impact Survey

The ideal candidate for this scholarship is:

  • 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 his/her organization in making data-based decisions.
  • Eager to develop a peer network to support research and evaluation efforts.

To be eligible for a scholarship, you must be:

a) employed by a public library in Colorado OR
b) a Colorado resident either enrolled in a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) program or a 2015 MLIS graduate at the time of the institute (this opportunity is most appropriate for students intending to work in public libraries)

Special consideration will be given to applicants working in small or rural libraries and/or those working with underserved populations. However, staff working in any Colorado public library and/or Colorado residents enrolled in an MLIS program are encouraged to apply for scholarships.

For more information and to apply, please see Scholarship applications are due by 5 PM on Friday, November 14, 2014.

Survey of US public librarians finds that almost half think there is an increased demand for language learning materials


Image credit: Library Journal

We have all likely felt the pressure, at one time or another, to grow more competent in a foreign language. Now, public librarians across the country are feeling the pressure to provide more diverse and accessible language learning products and services. Library Journal recently conducted a survey of public librarians from 337 libraries across the United States on language learning programs. Not surprisingly, the consensus across the board is that demand for language learning services has at least remained steady (47%), and has likely risen (47%), in recent years.

So what is prompting patrons to seek out language instruction? While travel still hangs on as the biggest reason for a patron to pursue foreign language learning, over half of the librarians surveyed responded that communicating with neighbors and community members (58% of librarians), and furthering business prospects (54% of librarians), were primary reasons. In an increasingly diversifying country, there is a heightened perception that learning a second language is no longer a luxury. Spanish and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) are the most frequently demanded languages, yet only 61% of librarians thought their ESOL programs were satisfactory.

Additionally, patrons want more than ever to be able to do their language lessons on the move. Almost all of the librarians surveyed (90%) noted ease of access as the most important characteristic of language resources, and mobile apps are on the rise. The downside of this trend is that many of the librarians surveyed expressed frustration at the limited means to promote online language software. Patrons are often unaware of services beyond books or audio.

It appears that for the foreseeable future, all kinds of language learning resources but especially online and mobile platforms will see steady if not escalating demand, and librarians will have to determine how to best inform and educate patrons about available resources.

The article by Library Journal also provides a list of offerings for libraries interested in bringing language learning software into their library.

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.

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

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