Archive for the Public Category

Study shows that one library district’s return on investment to taxpayers was up to 400%

Study shows that one library district’s return on investment to taxpayers was up to 400%

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Image credit: Santa Clara County Library District

What value does your library provide to users? A recent return on investment (ROI) study of Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) examined how their community benefited from the library in 5 areas:

  • Enhancing early literacy and youth education
  • Promoting lifelong learning and personal growth
  • Building and bridging diverse communities
  • Providing access to information and technology for all
  • Supporting personal recreation and quality of life

The results showed  that in 2011-12, for every dollar that SCCLD spent, the community received between  $2.50 and $5.17 in quantifiable benefits (computers, programming and community events, materials, etc.). In other words, taxpayers received up to a 400% return on investment. Of course, many library features cannot be easily counted, so stakeholder interviews were also conducted to examine the intangible benefits that users received. A wide range of benefits were identified, including the following:

  • An efficient, environmentally-conscious way to provide shared resources
  • Opportunities for exploration, creativity, and expression
  • A gathering place for diverse communities throughout the library district
  • Individual and community benefits of personal health and wellness
  • Expert guidance in identifying reliable information sources  and the cultivation of information literacy

Are you trying to demonstrate the value of your library to stakeholders? Check out the study report for some ideas on documenting its quantifiable and non-quantifiable benefits.

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.

57% of teens improved their digital media skills through participation in a 21st-century library learning space

57% of teens improved their digital media skills through participation in a 21st-century library learning space

youmedia

Image credit: Cynthia Howe

YOUmedia is a 21st-century learning space for teens located in 5 Chicago Public Library branches. It provides a place where teens can access and learn about digital media (photo and video editing, web design, podcasting, audio recording, etc.), and collaborate with their peers and mentors in a supportive environment.

The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research recently released the findings of a study they conducted of the impacts of YOUmedia on teen participants. A little more than half (57%) of the respondents reported that they improved their digital media skills (making a video, producing a podcast, creating a website, etc.) through their involvement in YOUmedia. In addition, more than half said that YOUmedia helped them with their schoolwork, and improved their writing skills and their communication with adults.

Through an IMLS and MacArthur Foundation grant, learning labs inspired by YOUmedia will be created by 12 organizations (7 libraries and 5 museums) across the country.

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.

Libraries pay up to 550% more for e-book bestsellers than consumers

Libraries pay up to 550% more for e-book bestsellers than consumers

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According to ALA’s 2013 State of America’s Libraries Report, 2012 was yet another tumultuous year for libraries in their quest to achieve fairness in e-book lending. ALA President Maureen Sullivan published an open letter to America’s publishers in September, requesting change, after Penguin (one of the “Big Six” publishers) denied libraries access to its titles, and others drastically increased their prices. To provide more information about this issue, Douglas County Libraries has a series of monthly e-book price comparison reports. Their July 2013 report shows that libraries still have a long way to go in this quest, as they are paying up to 550% more for e-book bestsellers than consumers.

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.

38% of younger Americans have used computers and the internet at libraries in the past year

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Image credit: Pew Internet

The Pew Research Center’s newest stats from its Internet & American Life Library Services Survey dive into younger Americans’ (16-29 years old) library and reading habits and reveal an interesting blend of technology and traditional service expectations. Perhaps most telling is that this group is significantly more likely to have either used technology at libraries or accessed online library services than adults older than 30. For example, 38% of younger Americans have used computers and the internet at libraries in the past year, compared with 22% of Americans ages 30 and older. Such tech-centric use is balanced by the younger generation’s ties to print media, as three-quarters say they have read at least one print book in the past year, well above the 64% of older adults. This mix of preferences extends to library services, with 3 out of 4 younger adults saying it’s very important for libraries to offer free access to computers and the internet as well as books for borrowing.

For more on Americans’ reading habits over time, check out Pew’s interactive tool reporting stats by age group.

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.

National 2011 Public Library Data Files Now Available

The national Public Libraries Survey data for 2011 is now available on the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) web site:  http://www.imls.gov/research/pls_data_files.aspx.  The data files are available in csv, xls, flat (ascii) and SAS formats.  The FY 2011 PLS report will be released in the early fall 2013.

Massive spreadsheets not your cup of tea? IMLS also has a “Compare Public Libraries” tool that “allows users to compare one library (the library of interest) with similar libraries (the comparison group).” Compare Public Libraries tool: https://harvester.census.gov/imls/compare/index.asp.

Public libraries serve 96% of the U.S. population, or approximately 297.6 million people

Image credit: Justin Grimes

“There’s always that joke that there’s a Starbucks on every corner,” says Justin Grimes, a statistician with the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington. “But when you really think about it, there’s a public library wherever you go, whether it’s in New York City or some place in rural Montana. Very few communities are not touched by a public library.” To prove this point, Grimes created a map indicating public library locations nationally. There are approximately 17,000 public library outlets, including library branches and bookmobiles, across the U.S., outnumbering McDonald’s locations (14,000) and Starbucks (11,000). According to IMLS, libraries reach 96% of the U.S. population, a number drawn from the 297.6 million people served by a public 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.

Four in five parents say libraries are very important for their children, according to the Pew Research Center

iStockphoto - 7062388 - Story Time

A recent study of parents, children, libraries, and reading found that four in five (79%) parents of minor children (under age 18) stated that libraries were very important for their children. This number rose even higher for parents with children under the age of 6: 84% of these parents described libraries as very important. Nearly every parent in this study (97%) stated that it is important for libraries to offer programming for children and teens. According to parents, some of the top uses of the library by children were: book borrowing, work on school work, attend a library event, and use the internet. Other reasons for use included attending a library-sponsored book club and to socialize with friends. Additionally, parents of minor children are more likely to use library services than other adults. Parents attending the library with their children are also more likely to increase their own browsing, borrowing, and program attendance, as well as support innovation and advancement in the library. There are some library attendance differences among mothers and fathers, as well as some differences in use and opinion of the library among various economic backgrounds, however overall parents overwhelmingly agree that the library is an important place for their children.

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.

Attending ALA Annual? Here are the research & statistics sessions that are on our radar

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Will you be attending ALA Annual? These are the research and statistics sessions that are on our radar:

Friday

8:30AM-4:00PM (preconference): Planning, Assessing, and Communicating Library Impact: Putting the Standards for Libraries of Higher Education into Action

9:00AM-3:00PM (preconference): International Statistics: Helping Library Users Understand the Global Community

Saturday

8:30-9:30AM: Data-Driven Services: Library Research Roundtable Forum

8:30-10:00AM: From Outputs to Outcomes: Measuring What Matters

10:30-11:30AM: Ebook Data Evaluation through the Eyes of an Academic Librarian and a Public Librarian: A Tale of Two Libraries

10:30-11:30AM: Is it Worth it? Assessing Online Instruction

1:00-2:00PM: Research at Your Service: Latinos & Their Information Needs on Center Stage

1:00-2:30PM: 19th Annual Reference Research Forum

1:00-2:30PM: Mentorship Program Forum: Library Research Roundtable Initiative

3:00-4:00PM: The Census, Your Patrons, and the DataFerrett (hands-on workshop about using census data)

4:00-5:30PM: The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron

Sunday

8:30-10:00AM: Do These Evaluation Statistics Mean Anything?

10:30-11:30AM: The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The Discussion Continues

10:30-11:30AM: Does Your Data Deliver for Decision Making? New Directions for Resource Sharing Assessment

1:00-2:30PM: New Pew Research: Libraries + Parents = Innovation and Success

1:00-2:30PM: Studying Ourselves: Libraries and the User Experience

Monday

10:30-11:30AM: Is This Trend a Library Friend? Understanding Current Analytical Measures

10:30-11:30AM: Measuring Up: Developing New Metrics for Assessing Library Performance

1:00-2:30PM: School Library Research

Nearly 80% of library stakeholders rated “library workers and leaders who embrace change” as being very important to the success of future libraries

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Image credit: Summary of Stakeholder Engagement Survey Results, the Global Libraries Initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Recently, the Global Libraries Initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation surveyed more than 3,000 library stakeholders to solicit ideas on the role and key attributes of a future library and how the foundation could help encourage those attributes. Respondents ranked trained librarians and visionary, effective leadership as the two most important features of a future library. Characteristics deemed most important to the success of a future library included “library workers and leaders who embrace change” and “visionary, effective leadership.” Responses suggested the Gates Foundation should fund collaborative efforts among libraries and share results with the field in future support initiatives directed at public libraries. Find out more at WebJunction.

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.

36% of school librarians rated connecting young people to reading and lifelong learning as the top satisfaction of their jobs

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Image Source: Mark Tuchman, http://www.slj.com/2013/05/research/sljs-2013-job-satisfaction-survey/

School Library Journal recently surveyed more than 1,000 school and public librarians to pinpoint sources of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction within the field. For both school and public librarians, connecting young people to reading and lifelong learning rated first for offering satisfaction with their jobs. Working with young people and matching a child/teen with the perfect book took spots 2 and 3 for both public and school librarians. At the same time, both types of librarians face challenges in having time to get everything done. Budgetary constraints and balancing increased demand with fewer resources are also shared concerns. Find out more about national job satisfaction trends at http://www.slj.com/2013/05/research/sljs-2013-job-satisfaction-survey/.

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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