Archive for the The Weekly Number Category

More than two-thirds of Americans are wielding smartphones today, Pew finds


After taking a look around you, it will likely come as no surprise that smartphone ownership has been skyrocketing in recent years. Pew Research conducted a technology device ownership survey this year, and found that more than two-thirds (68%) of Americans now own smartphones, a 35% increase since 2011. Tablets are the only other device that saw a strong increase in ownership – almost half (45%) of U.S. adults own a tablet computer today, compared to just 3% in 2010.

What’s more, of the 1,907 U.S. adults that were surveyed, it was found that this sharp increase in smartphone and tablet ownership was accompanied by steady or even declining ownership in many other digital devices. For example, after years of steadily increasing ownership, e-book devices have begun to decline in popularity, with only one-fifth (19%) of U.S. adults owning one in 2015. Meanwhile, the ownership of MP3 players, game consoles, and desktops and laptops have stagnated in recent years. Among U.S. adults under 30, though, the ownership of a desktop or laptop has declined by 11% since 2010.

What does this information mean for libraries and library services? Pew suggests in its report that the boom of smartphone ownership may correspond to a decline or stagnation in other device ownership as more people use smartphones and tablets as a primary source for a variety of their information needs. These trends mean that it will likely be very important for libraries to continue improving their mobile websites and services so that patrons can easily access resources and information about services from the devices they are most likely to use to stay connected.

Check out all of the device ownership trends from Pew 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.

Congratulations to the 7 Colorado Star Libraries for 2015!


Image credit: Library Journal

7 libraries in Colorado have been named Star Libraries by the 2015 Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. Colorado ranks 11th out of 41 states with star libraries, and is tied with three other states (Indiana, Alabama, and Missouri) that also have 7 star libraries. The 7 star libraries in Colorado are:

  • Arapahoe Library District
  • Denver Public Library
  • Douglas County Libraries
  • Holyoke/Heginbotham Library
  • La Veta Regional Library District
  • Limon Memorial Library
  • San Miguel Library District #1 (Telluride)

Although a few libraries that were Colorado star libraries last year are no longer represented on the list, Holyoke/Higenbotham is a new addition to the star library cohort this year.

The LJ Index, which is used to determine star libraries around the country, is a measure that compares public libraries with others that have similar expenditures based on the output measures of circulation, library visits, program attendance, and public internet computer use. Output measures (as opposed to other measures used for library assessment, inputs and outcomes), are quantifiable measures of various services that the library renders. These outputs are based on data provided by public libraries in the IMLS Public Library Survey.

The kinds of outputs measured by the LJ Index have begun and will continue to change over the next several years. For example, the 2015 star library ratings are the first to include e-circulation as part of its measures, and the 2016 ratings will be the first to account for all reference transactions, including virtual. This is an attempt to control for the fact that many library visits and services today are virtual as opposed to physical. Another factor that will affect the star library ratings in the coming years is increasing competition; more libraries than ever before, a whopping 7,663, were scored on the LJ Index in 2015.

This year’s report also includes a handy how-to on DIY LJ Index projects, so you can figure out how to leverage the index data to evaluate how your library stacks up against its peers. Whether or not your library was named a star library this year, you can find all of the data 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.


LJ reports that more than four-fifths of new library graduates are employed full time, up 19% from 2013


Image credit: Library Journal

Library Journal has released the findings from their 2015 Placement & Salaries Survey, which tracks yearly trends in employment among newly graduated MLIS students. In 2014, out of 4,331 estimated library school graduates, 32% participated in Library Journal’s survey. The results show an overall increase in full-time employment among new graduates, as well as steadily increasing salaries, though many new librarians are frustrated at the rigor of the application process and the number of available entry-level positions that actually require an MLIS degree.

The number of new library school graduates with full-time employment increased from 70% in 2013 to 83% in 2014. What’s more, those new graduates are earning even more starting off; starting salaries increased 2.9% from 2013, to $46,987. Women’s salaries increased slightly more than men’s as well, which represents a modest gain in closing the gender wage gap, though men continue to earn 14.9% more than women.

Of course, all regions and job titles are not experiencing these trends equally. The Pacific reported the highest average salaries, while the Southeast had the lowest, and the Northeast and Midwest were close to the average. These differences did, however, correspond closely to standard cost of living differences. One shift across the board is the fact that the highest paid positions are increasingly ones with non-traditional titles – positions that contain phrases such as “software developer,” “usability designer,” “data analyst,” etc. Meanwhile, many new graduates expressed frustration that some other full-time positions did not appear to require an MLIS at all

You can peruse all of Library Journal’s data on salaries and placement 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.

The Digital Inclusion Survey finds that 9 out of 10 public libraries offer general Internet usage training


Image credit: Digital Inclusion Survey

The Digital Inclusion Survey recently released new data and issue briefs that deal with a wide range of technology based services in public libraries, from access to e-government. The survey tracks trends and advances in the “access, adoption, and application” of digital resources in their effort to promote the importance of equitable technology access to the future of communities.

Their issue brief on digital literacy reports that 9 out of 10 public libraries in the U.S. (90%) at least offer training in general Internet usage. In fact, there is little gap in the number of libraries that provide basic technology services in suburban areas (93%) and those that do so in rural areas (87%).

Public libraries today have an average of 19 public access computers (including laptops), and many trainings now include workforce development and mobile technologies. Overwhelmingly though, libraries favor informal point-of-use interactions – four-fifths (79%) of libraries indicate they use this method, compared to the 39% that offer formal trainings.

Yet public libraries are not without challenges in providing digital literacy service to their communities. A lack of infrastructure, funding, and staff expertise can all be major hurdles. For example, the Digital Inclusion Survey found a direct association between libraries that had undergone major renovations in the past year (21% of public libraries) and their ability to provide technology training. Attention to the space of the library itself, it seems, may be an indicator of the energy and assets put into emerging digital services.

You can access all of the Digital Inclusion Survey’s 2015 issue briefs 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.


Number of materials challenges in Colorado public libraries continues slow decline, falling by 3% since 2013


As part of our yearly investigation into the materials that are challenged in public libraries in Colorado, our latest Fast Facts delves into detail concerning the format, audience, reason, and resolution of the materials challenges that were reported in the 2014 Public Library Annual Report. Information provided about these challenges help us to gauge the climate of intellectual freedom in Colorado public libraries over time.

So how did Colorado libraries fare in 2014? The total number of challenges over the years continues its overall downward trend. This trend has recently leveled out somewhat, however, since the number of challenges decreased by only 3% from 2013 to 2014. Several factors remained consistent from previous years, including the most common audience for challenged materials, adults, which represented the audience for three-quarters (76%) of challenges in 2014. There was also little change in the manner in which challenges were handled by the library; for the majority of challenges, no changes were made at all, meaning that the items were not reclassified, moved, or removed. While “sexually explicit” and “violence” remained two of the most cited reasons for the challenge, “other,” non-categorized reasons continue to rise.

An interesting shift taking place is the most common format of challenged materials. In 2014, videos eclipsed books as the most challenged format, at 36% of the total challenges. Book and computer challenges each represented another third (32%) of the challenges. Yet the percent of challenges to books has declined by more than a third (36%) since 2013. The cause of these changes is not clear, but could be related to an increased diversity in the kinds of formats offered by public libraries, and/or changes in how formats are perceived by individuals.

Take a look at all of the data and trends from 2014 in the full Colorado Public Libraries Challenges Fast Facts report.

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.

Pew survey finds that almost a third of Americans are in favor of fewer book shelves, though libraries themselves remain central to communities.


Image credit: Pew Research

Pew Research Center’s new report on the state of America’s libraries declares that libraries are approaching a watershed moment of change. Pew based this conclusion off of two central questions from its survey of 2,004 Americans over the age of 16 – Firstly, what should happen to the books that traditionally populated libraries, and secondly, what should happen to the buildings themselves?

It appears that Americans are getting more comfortable with the idea of a library with fewer books. 30% of survey respondents say libraries should “definitely” move books to make way for more space and services, compared to 20% in 2012. A quarter (25%) said libraries should “definitely not” do this, and 40% were on the fence. However, it appears that Americans are nowhere near ready to forgo the library space as a whole. Nearly two-thirds (64%) thought libraries should definitely still have a physical location.

So what does this mean for the future of library books? Public libraries are likely to remain popular community centers and resources for job preparation, but books will also remain a central part of their M.O. Some print book collections may decline, but the formats offered by libraries continue to get increasingly diverse. The Pew survey also found that e-book lending is growing – though the number seems small, 6% of respondents have borrowed an e-book, and 38% are aware that they are offered.

Yet even with the growth in popularity of electronic resources (90% of public libraries now have e-lending programs!), the Pew survey respondents don’t indicate that Americans are ready to go full e-book. Almost half (46%) still aren’t aware of whether or not their library offers e-books. Even more concerning, respondents with the least education and household income reported higher than average declines in library use. This means that despite rapid growth in tech-based services and resources, it will be essential for libraries to continue their quest to close the gap in digital literacy and awareness.

Want to hear more about the state of public libraries? You can access the full Pew 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.

LJ survey reveals differences in faculty’s vs. academic librarians’ perceptions of library services


Image credit: Library Journal

A new nationwide study by Library Journal, in partnership with Gale, examines faculty and academic librarian perceptions of the services offered by academic libraries, and the results are mixed. Nearly nine out of ten faculty (87%) feels that the academic library is important for providing resources for their own and their students’ research. However, academic librarians and faculty had different views on what services are most important and whether communication is adequate between faculty and librarians.

As far as services go, librarians and faculty do agree that the central function of academic libraries is information literacy instruction and research consultation for students. Yet librarians tended to rate their achievement in these areas much higher than faculty did. On the other hand, faculty are more likely to rate librarians higher in terms of stretch services. Well over half (61%) of faculty, for example, rated repository services as very important or essential, compared to just half of librarians. Faculty also rated services such as text and data mining, and research grant management, higher than librarians did.

Communication seems to be the biggest barrier to faculty and academic librarians seeing eye to eye, though. Essentially all academic librarians in the study (98%) thought there could be better communication between the two parties, compared to less than half (45%) of faculty surveyed who felt the same. Busy schedules and a lack of easy ways to foster in-person contact were the most cited reasons for a lack of communication. Over a quarter (27%) of faculty simply felt that there was “no need” to communicate with librarians.

Results from this survey seem to indicate that libraries and their services are still perceived as very important to academic institutions. The challenges that academic libraries will face, though, appear to be balancing the services needed by all campus stakeholders, including students, faculty, and graduate students, while forging effective methods of communication in busy and technology-saturated environments.

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.

New Pew study finds that 57% of today’s teens have made a new friend online


If the younger generation is any indication of how people will live, work, and interact in the future, today’s teens are media omnivores who will set new standards for social communication. In a new study from the Pew Research Center that takes a look at how friendships are formed and maintained in the digital age, it was found that teens are more likely to text message with friends everyday (55%) than interact with them in person every day (25%). The results, obtained from a national survey and in-person focus groups of 13 to 17 year olds, also found that other popular communication methods include talking on the phone, instant messaging, social media, video chat, video games, and messaging apps.

Teens are also not only keeping in touch with established friends online, but are also making new friends. More than half (57%) of teens have made at least one new friend online. However, it is also likely that these friendships will remain exclusively online. The most popular forums for teens to meet and socialize online are social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as playing networked video games. Girls are more likely to meet friends through social networks than boys (78% vs. 52% of boys), and boys are much more likely to meet through online video games (57% vs. 13% of girls).

Despite parental concerns, teens are meeting up in online environments more and more. Of all of the top places where teens get together with close friends, online environments are now the third most common (with 55% of teens saying they spend time with friends regularly online). It is still unclear whether these online interactions have an overall positive or negative impact. More than four-fifths (83%) of teens say that social media helps them to feel more connected to friends’ lives, but some teens do experience negative consequences such as pressure to make themselves look better, having friends that start drama online, and others posting exclusionary or negative comments.

If libraries are to remain vibrant places for teens to gather and interact in the future, they will need to consider ways in which they can harness the fluid and quickly changing social dynamics of this demographic.

You can access the full report on “Teens, Technology & Friendships” 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.

Just 35% of 2011 academic library job postings included salary information

academic jobs

Image credit: College & Research Libraries

While the library job market seems to be improving, there is always room for more data! In the newest College & Research Libraries, two academic librarians did a content analysis of the American Library Association’s (ALA) JobLIST and the Association of Research Libraries’ (ARL) Job Announcements to capture the academic library job market in 2011, then compared the results to 1996 and 1988. While at this point the 2011 data is a bit stale, the trend information can be useful to those in the job market or hiring.

The researchers looked at the number, types and titles, qualifications/skills, salary, and locations of positions posted from January 1–December 31, 2011. One surprise finding: 33 different library job titles were found in the 2011 study, up from 22 in 1996 and 12 in 1988. The researchers speculate the increase is because of new emerging technologies and e-resources management shifts. Public services positions dominated in 2011 with 57% of all postings, while technical services trailed with 27% and electronic services with 15%. The geographic location of these positions has stayed fairly constant, with the North Atlantic region slightly winning out with 29% of announcements, compared to 26% in West & Southwest, 24% in Southeast, and 22% in the Great Lakes & Plains.

As might be expected, the 2011 study found a 24% increase in the percentage of job postings requesting computer skills compared to 1996, and more than 100% increase compared to 1988. A majority of positions (60%) required previous work experience, 14% preferred work experience, a quarter didn’t specify, and just 2% classified themselves as entry-level. And for those currently on the job market, take note: Just 35% of all job announcements listed salary information.

Read more about the academic library job market in the full report here. And check out our analysis of academic librarian salaries and of our own popular Library Jobline.

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.

Consistent with past years, nearly all of the 2014 CTBL Patron Satisfaction Survey respondents rate their satisfaction as “Excellent” or “Good”


The results are in for the 2014 Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) Survey, which seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the library and overall satisfaction with its services. CTBL provides free library services, including recorded books, Braille materials, large print books, and descriptive videos, to Coloradans of all ages who are unable to read standard print because of physical, visual, or learning disabilities. Highlights from the survey are detailed in our Closer Look report.

Out of 6,400 active individual patrons, CTBL distributed the survey to an age-stratified sample of 1,733 patrons, and received 454 responses. The majority of respondents (60%) are over the age of 60, and more than a third (36%) have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The survey reveals that the most common method of communication with CTBL is the phone, with three-fourths of respondents (74%) communicating this way, and a third (32%) of respondents communicating with the library approximately every 6 months. This lack of regular and face-to-face communication suggests not that patrons are dissatisfied with CTBL, but rather that they are pleased with the library’s current services. In fact, almost all (98%) of the survey respondents indicate their satisfaction with CTBL as “excellent” or “good,” and the service components rated most highly by respondents (all rated above 90% “excellent” and “good” combined) are the courtesy of library staff, the completeness and condition of books received by patrons, the ease of contacting CTBL, the quality of the playback machine provided by CTBL, and the speed with which books are delivered to patrons.

The results obtained from this survey were consistent with the results gathered from past surveys conducted every 18 months since 2004.

Read the full 2014 CTBL Patron Satisfaction Survey 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.

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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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