Archive for the School Category

Join us at the CLiC Spring Workshops–Pueblo

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Will you be attending the CLiC Spring Workshops in Pueblo this week? If so, we hope you will join us for our two sessions:

Don’t Say Cheese: Take Great Photos for Your Website and Social Media Networks, Thursday, April 24, 9:45-11:00 AM, Aspen Leaf, Linda Hofschire & Dave Hodgins

Learn how to take better photos with your digital camera, whether you use the camera on your phone, a point and shoot, or an SLR. In this session, we will discuss exposure, composition, photographing people and objects, and basic photo editing. We will also share examples of how libraries are using photos effectively on their websites and social media networks to attract and engage users.

Minute To Win It: Make the Case for Your Library with a Data-Based Elevator Speech,Thursday, April 24, 11:15-12:30, Aspen Leaf, Linda Hofschire & Meghan Wanucha

Circulation, program attendance, website visits—these are just a few of the statistics you are already gathering at your library. But how do you take these data and turn them into effective advocacy? In this interactive session, learn how to develop an elevator speech about your library, use statistics and stories to add value, and tailor the message to various stakeholders. You will have the opportunity to draft an elevator speech and share it with others if desired. You are encouraged to bring any statistics you collect about your library for use in drafting your speech.

Join us at the CLiC Spring Workshops!

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Will you be attending the CLiC spring workshop in Grand Junction next week? If so, we hope you will join us for our two sessions:

Don’t Say Cheese: Take Great Photos for Your Website and Social Media Networks, Monday, March 3 9:45-11:00 AM, Adobe/Escalante, Linda Hofschire & Dave Hodgins

Learn how to take better photos with your digital camera, whether you use the camera on your phone, a point and shoot, or an SLR. In this session, we will discuss exposure, composition, photographing people and objects, and basic photo editing. We will also share examples of how libraries are using photos effectively on their websites and social media networks to attract and engage users.

Minute To Win It: Make the Case for Your Library with a Data-Based Elevator Speech, Tuesday, March 4, 10:45-12:00, Plateau/Dominguez, Linda Hofschire & Meghan Wanucha

Circulation, program attendance, website visits—these are just a few of the statistics you are already gathering at your library. But how do you take these data and turn them into effective advocacy? In this interactive session, learn how to develop an elevator speech about your library, use statistics and stories to add value, and tailor the message to various stakeholders. You will have the opportunity to draft an elevator speech and share it with others if desired. You are encouraged to bring any statistics you collect about your library for use in drafting your speech.

If you aren’t able to make it to Grand Junction, you can also join us for these same sessions at the Pueblo CLiC spring workshop on April 24-25.

U.S. children ages 2-10 spend an average of 40 minutes a day reading

Learning at Home_Chart 10_reading

Image credit: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center

In a recent national survey of parents of young children (ages 2-10), researchers asked parents how much time their kids spent with educational media across different formats and what their kids learned, as well as about their kids’ reading behaviors. (“Educational media” was defined as media the parents thought was “good for their child’s learning or growth or that teaches some type of lesson, such as an academic or social skill.”)

Overall, parents said their children spend just over 2 hours a day (2:07) with screen media, with 44% of that deemed “educational” by the adults. The amount of time spent with educational media decreased as age increased, with the youngest group, ages 2-4, spending 1:16 hours a day and the oldest group, ages 8-10, spending just 42 minutes. As might be expected, TV was the dominant form of educational screen media, with three-fourths (76%) of all educational media in a given day being streamed through a TV.

Parents were also asked to indicate what their children learned by using educational media. Among those who used it weekly, more parents said their child learned “a lot” about cognitive skills and reading/vocabulary (both 37%) and math (28%) than science (19%) or the arts (15%). Interestingly, format mattered: More parents said their child learned a lot from educational TV than from mobile devices. The children who use educational media weekly are also doing something about the media they view: Their parents said they talk about what they saw or did (87%), engage in imaginative play about it (78%), and ask questions about it (77%). Even better? Three of 5 parents (60%) said their children taught them something about what they saw or did.

This group of 2- to 10-year-olds spent an average of 40 minutes a day reading or being read to, of which 29 minutes were spent on print books, 8 minutes on a computer, and 5 minutes on an e-reader or tablet.  The amount of time parents and children spent reading together decreased as age increased, with 2- to 4-year-olds spending 44 minutes co-reading and 8- to 10-year-olds spending 24 minutes co-reading. Differences in reading time were not statistically significant based on race, income, or parent education, or among the age groups; however, there was a significant difference in children’s gender, with girls reading for 46 minutes a day and boys reading for 34 minutes, on average.

Read more about how families are interacting with educational media—or choosing not to—in the full report. This rich report also breaks down the topics by race/ethnicity, education level, and family income to gain deeper insight into how parents view educational media.

Libraries: how do you connect families with educational media resources? Let us know by chatting 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.

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A national survey of school librarians found that 98% instruct students and teachers in the use of technology tools

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Image credit: School Library Journal

School Library Journal’s 2013 School Library Technology Survey asked more than 750 K-12 school librarians and media specialists at public and private schools about technology topics including technology integration, professional development, filtering, and social media. Results show that almost all respondents (98%) are teaching students and coaching teachers how to use everything from databases to digital textbooks, despite facing challenges with time, budget, bandwidth, and Internet and device policies and restrictions.

Most schools of those responding to the survey are connected, with 92% offering WiFi. About 69% of school librarians use free social applications and similar apps to collaborate and support learning. Top social applications used by respondents were Edmodo, Pinterest, and Goodreads, all noteworthy as free Web-based teaching tools that also offer spaces for learning online etiquette and responsible browsing behaviors.

Nearly three-fourths (72%) of librarians say they’re seen as technology leaders, but only 44% of respondents believe those abilities translate into job security. Anecdotes described frustration with administrative roadblocks to technology implementation and difficulties using resources like YouTube, which is often banned in schools.

Find out how Colorado school libraries compare in our Fast Facts reports, 21st Century Instruction Strategies in Colorado School Libraries and Colorado School Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2011-2012.

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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What is a school library?

We previously examined the importance of research definitions when considering those who staff school library media centers. To further complicate matters, this time we will look at an even more foundational concept: What is a school library? You might be surprised to learn the answer is incredibly complex, depending on what source you use.

LRS follows the “school library” definition as set by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) for its Report Card of Data Elements and Definitions. Released by CDE annually in March, the Report Card asks districts to indicate if they meet this definition for a school library:

“a dedicated facility located in and administered by the school that provides at least the following: an organized, circulating collection of printed and/or audiovisual and/or computer-based resources, or a combination thereof; paid staff [emphasis added]; an established schedule during which services of the staff are available to students and faculty; instruction on using library materials to support classroom standards and improve student research and literacy skills.”

LRS derives our numbers from CDE’s staffing data and consider a school to have a library if it has a paid staff person (librarian or paraprofessional) responsible for that facility. Through this lens, just over two-thirds (68%) of Colorado public schools have a school library, based on 2012-13 staffing data.

Good so far? Now consider CDE’s 2012-13 March Report Card data collection, which reported 1,641, or 90 percent, of Colorado’s public schools have libraries (library data in SchoolView is available under the Courses tab, under the Programs link):

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However, while CDE bases these figures on the same definition as the one above, they are derived from district responses to a single survey question as opposed to relying on school staffing data.

On the national level, the 2011-12 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Salary and Staffing Survey indicates that 90 percent of all public schools in the nation have a library media center (see Table 1). This report does not indicate a state-by-state percentage. NCES’ library media center definition is similar to Colorado’s, with some notable differences:

“A library media center is an organized collection of printed and/or audiovisual and/or computer resources which is administered as a unit, is located in a designated place or places, and makes resources and services available to students, teachers, and administrators. A library media center may be called a school library, media center, resource center, information center, instructional materials center, learning resource center, or any other similar name.”

There are a couple of glaring omissions to this definition: Who is responsible for running the library media center and how do students, teachers, and administrators learn to use the collection? It is interesting, however, to read the range of synonyms for “library media center.” Such variations indicate the diverse roles played by the school library, some well outside of the traditional collection-focused terminology used in the first sentence of the definition.

Is your head spinning yet? The point of this post is to demonstrate that defining “school library” is as difficult as pinning down how many there are. It’s important to consider the fine print when trying to talk about research in a meaningful way. So read those footnotes, be skeptical, and be careful when attempting to generalize study results. Of course we haven’t mentioned how you can put 5 librarians in a room and get 5 different definitions of a library, too. This has been debated for decades, and the debate will likely continue for many more.

What should library staff be paid?

What should library staff be paid?

avg_hrly_wage_by_degreeBased on 5 years of job postings on our own Library Jobline, we’ve found that starting wages for library jobs are stagnant overall (see our Fast Facts). But this is only one piece of the pay equity puzzle: The American Library Association–Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) has published an updated Pay Equity Bibliography. The bibliography includes resources on pay equity, certification, faculty status, gender, and worker competencies, as well as salary negotiation, legislation, and various economic factors. Salary data and statistical information is also provided to help library professionals understand what they are worth. From the report: “The emphasis for items included in the bibliography is on practical rather than theoretical materials and on more recent information on pay equity; however, there are items from previous versions of the Pay Equity Bibliography included. This list is by no means exhaustive.”

Learn more about the Colorado library job market, salary trends, and other workforce topics in our Fast Facts reports.

Are you currently in the job market? Be sure to visit Library Jobline, for job posting from Colorado and beyond (like Texas and Qatar). And for even more job hunting strategies, visit our Twitter feed @libraryjobline where we’ll share tips and tricks using #JobTip.

Colorado School Library Survey Deadline Extended

Good news! We’ve extended the deadline for completing the 2013-2014 Colorado School Library Survey to Monday, December 2, so that everyone has time to participate. School librarians–your  responses really do matter, and we hope you will take the time to complete the survey!  Here are a couple examples of how we use your results:

  • This past spring, we used the survey results, combined with some other research we’ve done, to create an infographic that links school libraries and librarians to student achievement.
  • And, we are in the process of creating new and improved school library profiles, which we will debut in spring 2014 using your results from this year’s survey. While these profiles already exist, we are redoing them so that they will serve as effective tools for self-assessment and promotion.

For these reasons and more, we encourage you to take the survey. You can access it at http://www.lrs.org/slsurvey/.

You should have received your login information in a letter and/or email, but if you need it, please contact us at lrs@lrs.org or 303.866.6900.

Thank you for your participation in this year’s Colorado School Library Survey!

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Less than 38% of young Americans can complete tech tasks more difficult than sorting e-mails into folders.

Group of students in library using tablet PC

Although the United States invented the personal computer, its young adults are falling behind many other countries in their technological proficiency, according to a recent article in Education Week. The article cites a study performed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in which young adults aged 16 – 24 years, from 19 countries, attempted to perform tasks of three different difficulty levels, including sorting e-mails into folders, organizing data into spreadsheets, and managing reservations for virtual meeting rooms. Young adults from the U.S. performed the worst, as less than 38 percent could successfully complete tasks more difficult than sorting e-mails into folders; and 11 percent were unable to perform the most basic exercises – the second-highest rate among the participating countries. In comparison, 44 percent of Sweden’s young adults achieved the two highest levels of proficiency.

How can the U.S. facilitate digital literacy among young adults? Educators, in particular, can play a role by introducing students to various technologies, and teaching them to use them. In fact, school librarians are uniquely positioned to work with students to increase these skills, with their emphases on 21st-century instruction strategies such as teaching students to use digital resources and to use technology to organize and share information. Also, Brian Lewis, the chief executive officer of the International Society for Technology Education, an educational technology advocacy group, recommends that educators engage students with technologies they are already accustomed to, such as digital games. Once educators have captured their students’ attention, they can then focus their attention toward using technology for, perhaps, less fun, but more useful, purposes.

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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2013-14 School Library Survey now open!

Are you a librarian at a public school in Colorado? If so, we hope you will take the annual school library survey! It is available at http://www.lrs.org/slsurvey/. We’re continually working on ways to improve this survey and make better use of the results. Did you know that:

  • In 2011-12, we updated the survey so that the questions more accurately reflect the 21st century learning environment. This helps all of us to better tell the story of Colorado school libraries—their accomplishments, their challenges, and their potential to empower students in today’s global and technology-rich environment.
  • This past spring, we used the survey results, combined with some other research we’ve done, to create an infographic that links school libraries and librarians to student achievement.
  • And, we are in the process of creating new and improved school library profiles, which we will debut in spring 2014 using your results from this year’s survey. While these profiles already exist, we are redoing them so that they will serve as effective tools for self-assessment and promotion.

For these reasons and more, we encourage you to take the survey. The survey deadline is Friday, November 1, 2013.

You should have received your login information in a letter and/or email, but if you need it, please contact us at lrs@lrs.org or 303.866.6900.

Thank you for your participation in this year’s Colorado School Library Survey!

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Nearly 50% of library workers say the economic downturn would lead them to retire later and/or stay in their current job

Nearly 50% of library workers say the economic downturn would lead them to retire later and/or stay in their current job

Retirement_school libsImage credit: Library Leadership & Management

A new study published in Library Leadership & Management dives into results from a national survey of current library workers regarding their retirement plans, particularly after the economic downturn. Analysis suggests that while more than one-fourth of respondents ages 50-59 and almost three-fourths of respondents in their 60s and 70s plan to retire in the next 5 years, close to half of all respondents said that the economic downturn would lead them to retire later and/or stay in their current job. For three-fourths of respondents, pay and health benefits were “very important” or “critical” factors in their decisions to keep working. As might be expected, those at school libraries were far more likely to leave the field or retire early than their public and academic library colleagues, perhaps alluding to the vulnerable status of school libraries.

Learn more about the changing library workforce here in Colorado at our webpage devoted to publications, presentations, and research on the topic.

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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