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3 in 4 TELL survey respondents said teachers & students have access to current, diverse, & ability-appropriate materials through the library

2015 TELL

Image credit: Colorado Department of Education

New results from the Colorado Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL Colorado) survey are now available! Administered through the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), this biennial survey asks Colorado teachers and administrators about teaching and learning conditions in their school. The 2015 iteration included two new questions about school libraries and librarians:

  • Teachers receive appropriate training and guidance from school library staff to help students to become proficient in 21st century skills.
  • Teachers and students have access to current, diverse and ability-appropriate materials through the library.

About 3 out of 4 (74%) respondents agreed or strongly agreed that teachers and students have access to current, diverse, and ability-appropriate materials through the library. More than half—57%—agreed or strongly agreed that teachers receive appropriate training and guidance from school library staff to help students to become proficient in 21st century skills.

These data help demonstrate the broader role school library services are playing in their schools in Colorado and dovetails with extensive existing research on the impact school libraries have on student achievement.

Review the fact sheet about the 2015 results here and check out your local district’s results here, available if the minimum 50% response rate was reached.

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.

Study finds that high-poverty schools with a certified teacher librarian achieve a 5-year graduation rate of 79%

WLMA

Image credit: Washington Library Media Association

There’s yet more reason to invest in school library programs! Even as the number of endorsed librarians in today’s schools continues its downward trend, studies are consistently finding that there is no substitute for a quality school library program (You can peruse through research done by LRS and other institutions on this subject here). A new study conducted by the Washington Library Media Association (WLMA) and reported by School Library Journal further corroborates these findings. The study, which drew from 1,486 K-12 public schools across Washington state, concludes that students in schools that have a certified teacher-librarian (CTL) are more likely to perform better on standardized tests and to graduate, regardless of whether they live in an urban, suburban, or rural area, and regardless of the income of their household.

While 85% of students in schools with CTLs graduate in 5 years compared to 79% of students in schools without a CTL, the difference is far more profound in high-poverty schools. In areas where poverty is prevalent, nearly four-fifths (79%) of students in schools that have a CTL graduate in 5 years. This five year graduation rate, however, falls to well under half (43%) of students for schools that do not have a CTL.

While these findings are in line with many other recent studies, the WLMA took their research a step further by creating a method for evaluating the overall quality of library services. The Library Quality Scale (LQS) that they use assigns a score from 0-35 to each program based on the number of hours open, visits per week, the inventory of books and databases, and the number of computers available for instruction. Using this scale, the WLMA discovered that while nearly all of the schools (97%) report having some kind of library facility, minimal resources did not equate to higher performance. Programs that achieved a score over 26, however, had higher student achievement. This suggests that in order to see meaningful impact on student achievement, making an investment in library facilities and staff is critical.

Check out the full report from the WLMA 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.

In 2013-2014, 1 in 4 Colorado public schools had an endorsed librarian

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How many endorsed school librarians and other library staff are in Colorado? How many Colorado public schools have any type of library staffing? These answers change depending on a variety of factors: position (endorsed librarian or other staff), grade level, school setting (Denver Metro, rural, etc.), and school size. Based on Colorado Department of Education school staffing data, there were a total of 404 FTE endorsed librarians and 928 FTE library staff in Colorado K-12 public schools in 2013-2014. About 2 in 3 Colorado public schools had some type of library staffing in 2013-2014, but only 1 in 4 had an endorsed librarian. To learn more about school library staffing in Colorado, check our our new Fast Facts. Also be sure to check out our school library impact infographic, which demonstrates the impact of school libraries on student achievement.

615 jobs posted on Library Jobline in 2014

FF_jobline2014

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.

EasyBib reports that 12% of K-12 schools have no information literacy instruction

easybibskills

Image credit: EasyBib

In a follow up to data collected in 2012, EasyBib completed a survey this year of 1,182 school and academic librarians, and 10,471 students, in order to determine how libraries are evaluating and responding to the need for information literacy instruction in schools and in higher education. The report shows there is a wide gap between K-12 schools and academic institutions in both perception of research ability and instruction offered.

Although school libraries are integral to building an early foundation for information literacy, the data indicates that many students are not receiving dedicated or sustained instruction on how to evaluate information across media platforms until they go to college. Though all higher education institutions had at least some information literacy training, 12% of K-12 schools reported having no research instruction whatsoever. If we look just at high school libraries, the number reporting that they have no instruction of research skills jumps up to over a quarter (26%) of that group.

On top of that, half of high school librarians surveyed responded that students’ understanding of website evaluation was merely “basic,” despite the fact that 60% of all librarian respondents said that students prefer Open Web resources and use them “very often.”

It’s easy to recognize that information literacy instruction is likely getting shortchanged at school libraries due to budget and time restraints. However, because all librarians know the importance of information literacy, and know that its value is likely to increase in the future, EasyBib suggests that many school librarians will need to get creative in their approaches to research instruction. Such strategies might include online video tutorials, creating better awareness of subscription databases, and fostering better channels of communication with teachers and administrators. A combination of these and other methods could make a big difference in ensuring the future success of today’s students.

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.

40% of surveyed school district library supervisors reported cuts in district funding from the previous year

Lilead

Image credit: Lilead Project

New research results from the Lilead Project showcase the first national effort to study school district library supervisors since the 1960s. Funded by IMLS and deployed by the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, the Lilead Project collected data via a national survey (which they intend to repeat) for a baseline for future research and established a professional development network and Fellows Program for those who coordinate a school district’s library program.

Focusing on supervisors from districts with 25,000+ students, the survey, which was administered in fall 2012, covered topics ranging from job titles to challenges experienced. The survey also gathered demographics data to profile the typical school district library supervisor. The overwhelming majority of the 166 respondents were female (80%) and white (87%), and nearly 3 in 4 (72%) were former classroom teachers. Perhaps most telling is that about half (49%) were 55-64 years old and nearing retirement age.

Nearly all respondents (93%) reported that they were responsible for tasks/decisions related to providing professional development for library staff. Not quite half (47%) also provided technology support to staff. However, only 1 in 10 district library supervisors were responsible for evaluating school librarians, and just 12% were responsible for hiring librarians.

The final segment of the survey investigated challenges and issues faced by school district library supervisors. More than 2 in 5 (42%) reported a decrease in both funding and staffing in building-level libraries from the previous year. More than 1 in 5 (22%) saw a drop in technology funding. Changes in curriculum were also felt by this group: About 4 in 5 (78%) experienced more emphasis on content standards while 3 in 5 reported greater emphasis on information literacy from the year before. District library supervisors are also spending more time talking about the library’s role in student achievement and encouraging collaboration between librarians and classroom teachers. But the most important responsibility for these district library supervisors? Leadership – more than 4 in 5 (83%) said their leadership responsibilities were extremely important or important.

Learn more about budget challenges and staffing and read comments from survey respondents in American Libraries or visit the Lilead Project website.

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.

SLJ Survey indicates two-thirds of U.S. schools offer e-books, representing a slow but stable growth in e-book access

slj_ebook

Image credit: School Library Journal

As part of our look at e-book usage in U.S. libraries for 2014, we see in School Library Journal’s latest survey of school libraries that e-books are not faring quite as well in this environment as they are in public libraries. In fact, in the survey of 835 U.S. school libraries, one of the most frequent responses given by librarians is that they are far more enthusiastic about e-books than the students. School librarians report that demand exists but is not astounding, and less than half (44%) have seen demand increase. Although two-thirds of responding schools across the U.S. offer e-books (a 10% increase from last year), a shortage of devices and the cost of e-books were cited as the biggest barriers to access and usage.

One growing trend is for schools to provide e-reading devices in a one-to-one ratio for at least a portion of the students’ day. Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) respondents to the SLJ survey have a 1:1 device program in place, and demand for e-books is higher in these schools than in those that do not provide individual devices for students. Different school grade levels also show fluctuations in demand. While the demand for e-books in high schools seems to have peaked, it is actually increasing slightly in both elementary and middle schools.

While demand and usage of e-books in school libraries has not displayed the same dramatic trends as in public libraries, the SLJ survey indicates that school libraries are slowly warming up to e-books. Even though meager budgets will continue to be an issue for most school libraries to grapple with, librarians expect e-book spending to quadruple from its current rate by 2019, up to 13% of the total budget. How to get more devices into the hands of students and how to convince them that e-books have something to offer that print books do not, though, will be hurdles that school libraries will continue to face in future years.

Do you want to know about e-book collections and usage in Colorado schools? Check out our 2013-14 Annual Colorado School Library Survey Fast Facts, which reports that e-book collections have risen by 557% since 2008-09.

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.

ALA report on the impact of CIPA finds that software filtering negatively impacts disadvantaged students

filtering

Banned Books Week and Banned Websites Awareness Day only come around once a year, but for students, learning is affected all year long by the content they are able or not able to access. A report by ALA, Fencing Out Knowledge: Impact of CIPA 10 Years Later, seeks to understand the long-term impact of the law requiring filtering software on school computers, and some of its unintended consequences as revealed through existing research and ALA’s own interviews and symposium.

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was passed in 2000 with the intention of blocking obscene and pornographic images from school computers. So why does ALA consider it a problem? While there is good reason to prevent children from viewing certain content, ALA argues that much of this filtering is not very effective and needs to be revised.

In fact, software filters are reportedly so unreliable that they over-block useful content or under-block obscene content 15-20% of the time. But the main takeaway from ALA’s report is that CIPA disproportionately impacts already disadvantaged students, giving those who get unfiltered access at home an advantage over those who only have filtered access at school. In a Pew study of AP and National Writing Project teachers, nearly half (48%) of the respondents in urban areas and/or teaching low-income students responded that filtering had a major impact on the effectiveness of student learning. And while much of the filtered content (as shown in the above graph) appears to be entertainment, the fact is that for young people, online platforms such as games, videos, and social networks are a becoming a major component of learning and the establishment of early digital literacy.

ALA argues that school librarians have the ability to promote and teach the ethical and safe use of information technologies, and urges that schools should make better use of them to train teachers to assess the quality of online sources and to collect valuable resources for student use. CIPA is likely here to stay, but school librarians are well positioned to mitigate any negative effects it may have on student learning.

ALA also looked at the effects of CIPA on public libraries. Check out 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.

Join us at CAL to learn how to create a data-based elevator speech

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Will you be attending CAL this week? If so, we hope you will join us for our session, “If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! Make the Case for Your Library with a Data-Based Elevator Speech.” Here are the details:

If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! Make the Case for Your Library with a Data-Based Elevator Speech
Linda Hofschire & Meghan Wanucha
Friday, October 17, 3:00-4:45
River Birch A

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.

State grants doubled the collection budgets of 41 library recipients in 2013-14

state grants FF

We recently told you about the State Grants to Libraries Act (CRS 24-90-401) that offered $2 million to Colorado’s libraries and how many libraries were able to purchase materials thanks to the funds. We’ve now received preliminary data for the 2013-14 grant cycle highlighting just how those grants were used, and the impact is clear: State funding played a major role in building collections for libraries across the state.

More than 9 in 10 library recipients used the funds to purchase print books, totaling nearly 140,000 books added to library collections. Nearly 40% of recipients bought about 10,000 e-books. And more than half of library grant recipients purchased access to electronic databases for their patrons.

And it’s not just about the data: Libraries shared great stories showcasing the impact the state funding has had on their library and patrons. Here are a couple of our favorites:

  • It was a new book extravaganza! We were able to weed many aged and ragamuffin books. We refreshed our collection and it reignited our love for reading!
  • We are a 1:1 technology district, and this allowed us to expand our digital resources. It is helping us transform the way students think and learn.
  • We saw circulation rise by 13-29% at two branches because we can offer more targeted resources customers want and need.

Want to see more highlights and quotes from the 2013-14 grant cycle? Check out our new Fast Facts.

Final numbers for the 2013-14 grants will be available later this fall. And the cycle for 2014-15 is well underway with the $2 million appropriation renewed by the 2014 Colorado Legislature and funds scheduled for disbursement this fall. We’re looking forward to seeing how libraries use this year’s awards!

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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