Archive for the Technology Category

Public library websites and social media: What’s #trending now?

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We’re excited to have an article in the October 2014 issue of Computers in Libraries, Public Library Websites and Social Media: What’s #Trending Now?, that shares the results from our biennial study of public library website features and social media use. In this study, we analyze the websites of nearly 600 US public libraries to determine what website features and social media networks they are using to promote interactivity with patrons. The article focuses on our most recent (2012) findings, with a look back at our earlier studies to examine trends over time. In addition, it shares highlights from interviews we conducted with social media directors at several public libraries from our sample that we identified as highly active social media users based on their number of Facebook and/or Twitter followers relative to their populations served, as well as how frequent and recent their postings were. We talked with them about their social networking strategies, best practices, and lessons learned.

Want to know more? We’ve compiled all of our publications related to this study–infographics, Fast Facts, Closer Look reports, and more–on our U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies webpage.

1998: Average copyright date of technology books (600s section in Dewey Decimal System) in Colorado’s public school libraries

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These days, it is not uncommon for children to be adept at using the Internet, cellular phones, and/or digital cameras. They might be hard-pressed, however, to find literature in their school libraries that adequately discusses the modern-day use and significance of these technological advancements. Based on results from the 2013-14 Colorado School Library Survey, the average copyright for books that fall in the 600 range (technology) of the Dewey Decimal System in Colorado public school libraries is 1998—when the Internet was a relatively new concept in most households, cellular phones were a luxury item enjoyed by only a select few, and drug stores were still developing camera film for their customers on a regular basis.

Are you a school librarian who needs funding to update your collection? The Colorado State Library website contains information about a variety of grant opportunities, for example, State Grants to Libraries and the Funding Opportunities webpage.

 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.

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.

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

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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.

Colorado has 7 times as many libraries as Starbucks stores

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Colorado’s public, school, and academic libraries offer their users a blend of technology services, learning opportunities, community activities, and information literacy initiatives. But what do these services and resources actually look like? We’ve sorted through a variety of data—from annual surveys to national reports—to provide a fresh update to our popular Quotable Facts report. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite statistics that we think help convey the importance of libraries of all kinds to the entire state of Colorado.

Did you know Colorado has 7 times as many libraries as Starbucks stores? And those libraries have more than 66 million visits each year, or more than 5 times as many as our state parks. For those technology buffs, 94% of the state’s public libraries offer technology training on tools like photo editing software and social media. With devices becoming more and more common, public libraries are increasingly offering wireless access (see our recent Fast Facts, Computers in Colorado’s Public Libraries) and saw more than 5 million wireless access uses in 2012, or more than 13,000 uses each day. And Colorado’s school librarians are making sure students are well-versed in 21st-century skills: Nearly 75% teach students how to use digital resources at least once a week.

Check out our new Quotable Facts report here. Please share often! And, if you would like printed copies, please contact us.

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.

2013 Digital Inclusion Survey results coming soon

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Image credit: Information Policy & Access Center, University of Maryland

The first Digital Inclusion Survey—conducted by the ALA Office for Research & Statistics and the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) at the University of Maryland—captured public library services related to digital literacy, economic and workforce development, education, health information, and internet access. Its overall goal is to highlight the role public libraries play in building “digitally inclusive communities.” (If this sounds familiar, the Digital Inclusion Survey picked up the reins from the Public Library Funding & Technology Access Survey, or PLFTAS.)

The 2013 Digital Inclusion Survey closed late last year, and researchers hope to release their national data report during ALA’s Annual Conference in a few weeks. In the meantime, we are having a blast playing around with the national interactive map. It combines demographic, economic, and health data from the American Community Survey and select Digital Inclusion Survey results to illustrate what libraries offer their communities and general attributes of those communities as well. Even better: iPAC is adding features to allow users to print pieces of this excellent tool. And if you’re looking for more help to tell the story of your 21st-century library, check out the issue briefs and map visualizations.

We’re looking forward to seeing the final results from this new survey!

Total e-book collection figures in Colorado’s school libraries have increased by 557% since 2008-09

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Colorado’s school librarians are busy teaching students how to use digital resources, apply critical-thinking skills, and evaluate the credibility of information resources. They’re co-teaching with instructors across the school, serving as technology leaders and subject matter experts in helping students achieve 21st-century skills. To help demonstrate these activities, school library staff participate in the annual Colorado School Library Survey. In our newest Fast Facts report, we’ve highlighted statewide estimates extrapolated from 2013-14 survey results as well as specific survey responses to demonstrate what’s happening in the bustling world of school librarianship in the state.

Statewide, it’s clear school libraries are humming with activity. In a typical week, more than 2.2 million items are circulated and individuals visit more than 791,000 times—yes, that’s in just one typical school week. Of the more than 412,000 school computers with access to library resources, more than 90,000 are actually in the library itself.

School librarians are also deeply involved in the life of the school overall: For those survey respondents who are endorsed librarians, nearly all (96%) participate in school committees, 90% meet regularly with the principal, and 87% provide in-service training for teachers. School libraries are also making their presence known virtually, with nearly all (95%) respondents offering an online automated catalog, close to 9 in 10 (88%) offering wireless internet, and 4 in 5 have a library website or catalog that’s linked from the school homepage.

Learn more about the impact of school libraries in our powerful school library impact study page, and don’t forget to keep a copy of our infographic handy. You can also access your own library’s information through our interactive tool and customized profiles.

Interested in seeing how this year’s results compare with last year’s? Check out our Fast Facts summarizing the 2012-13 results.

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.

Colorado library users received 385K+ computer tutoring sessions during the 2-year BTOP project

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In our newest Fast Facts report, we’ve summarized the final results of the two-year Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant project from April 2011 to March 2013. This project involved building or enhancing Public Computer Centers (PCCs) at 88 libraries, tribes, town halls, and other community spaces around Colorado. More than 1,500 computers were installed, including laptops, desktops, tablets, and ADA stations.

The project went beyond hardware to include support for open access computer use time, intensive individual tutoring sessions, and formal classes on topics like basic internet skills, multimedia tools, job-seeking resources, and office skills. These classes were overwhelmingly supported: 96% of survey respondents said they would recommend the class to someone else and 95% agreed that they learned a valuable skill.

Library staff also tracked open-access sessions to learn more about how computers and their assistance were used. Interestingly, nearly 9 in 10 (89%) of all 3.48 million computer uses were unassisted. Of the more than 385,000 individual tutoring sessions, almost all (96%) were unscheduled.

Head over to www.lrs.org/btop-evaluation to learn more about the BTOP project and read more reports detailing class participant satisfaction survey results, workforce partnerships, and outcome evaluation.

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.

LRS research featured in ALA’s State of America’s Libraries Report

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LRS’s biennial study on public library web sites and social media use (“Web Tech”) is featured in ALA’s recently released 2014 State of America’s Libraries report. This report presents a comprehensive summary of current library news and trends, including coverage of hot topics such as libraries and community engagement, ebooks and copyright issues, and social networking, where the Web Tech study is highlighted.

Check out the following resources for more information about this study:

 

Three-fourths of internet users say the internet has been good for society

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Image credit: Pew Research

The internet has had a transformative impact on Americans’ lives, and libraries have taken that impact in stride, offering equipment, infrastructure, and navigation assistance sought by patrons across the country. To mark the 25th anniversary of the Web, Pew Research recently released new survey results that demonstrate the internet’s powerful role in our everyday lives.

We know internet use is wide-spread, with more than 4 in 5 adults using it. But some of the most interesting findings in this research are related to how we view the internet. Despite the vitriol and trolls lurking in comment areas, about 3 in 4 internet users thought interactions were mostly kind. More than half have seen an online group or community come together to solve a problem or help someone. Interestingly, younger internet users (18-29) tended to see more of the good and the bad sides of the internet—being treated kindly and unkindly themselves and seeing people come together and tear each other down—than older users.

Two-thirds say the web has strengthened relationships with family and friends. And more than half of internet users say the internet would be very hard to give up—still more than the 49% of cell phone owners who say the same thing about their phone! Importantly, of those who said the web would be hard to give up, most (61%) said the internet was “essential for job-related or other reasons.”

Of course libraries are well aware of these trends. Most have websites and the number of libraries that offer mobile-friendly websites is increasing accordingly as smartphone usage increases. And with new research breaking down library users and non-users by type, we can also understand the role technology plays in the lives of our users based on their engagement with our services. How has your library changed in the 25 years since the web was created?

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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