Archive for the The Weekly Number Category

Colorado ranked 22nd in 0-18 children’s well-being


Image credit: ZERO TO THREE

The nonprofit early development organization ZERO TO THREE recently released updated State Baby Facts factsheets about the status of infants, toddlers, and families across the country. Early literacy is just one piece of the early childhood education and development picture, so these factsheets are useful tools to help libraries and other early literacy organizations to understand current poverty, health, and early learning data and how their states compare nationally.

Here are some highlights from Colorado’s factsheet:

  • More than 1 in 4 (21%) Colorado infants and toddlers live at less than 100% of the federal poverty level.
  • One in 10 babies is born preterm, and 9% of babies have low birth weight in Colorado.
  • More than a quarter (27%) of Colorado children younger than 3 experience residential mobility (e.g., multiple moves).
  • Coloradans are doing better than the national averages for several early learning activities (perhaps libraries have a role to play in that?):
    • Well over half (57%) of parents or family members read to their 0-5-year-old each day.
    • More than 3 in 5 (63%) parents or family members tell stories and sing to their 0-5-year-old each day.
  • At the same time, the cost of infant childcare for Colorado single mothers is nearly half (48%) of their income.

Looking for practical tips to make your library more supportive of families with young children? Check out the research-tested SPELL Blueprint model which outlines activities and recommendations from the Supporting Parents in Early Literacy Through Libraries (SPELL) project.

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 new SLJ survey, nearly two-thirds of school librarians see themselves as tech leaders in their school


Image credit: School Library Journal

School Library Journal’s 2015 Technology survey of 1,259 school librarians provides insight into the positive and negative effects that technology is having on school libraries. On the positive side, the survey suggests that school librarians are more enthusiastic than ever about incorporating tech as a component of teaching and learning. Makerspaces, 3-D printers, and coding skills were cited as the most coveted tech resources. In fact, more than a third (38%) of respondents reported having maker activities and technology already, while another 13% said they would be adding these features in the next year. School librarians are also quite confident in their own advocacy of technology, with nearly two-thirds (64%) expressing that they see themselves as tech leaders in their schools.

School librarians’ use of applications for instruction and social media for providing information and resources has continued to increase. Application use has increased from 57% in 2013 to 71% in 2015, and the use of social media for information sharing shot up from 59% in 2013 to 76% in 2015.

Yet despite this rapidly growing interest and demand for technology many school libraries are seeing budgets fall short of their need. In particular, the amount of bandwidth is becoming a concern. While nearly all (97%) of the schools surveyed have Wi-Fi, the speed of connection is comparable to many private homes. Only 63% of school librarians surveyed deemed their bandwidth access adequate, compared to 82% in 2013. In addition, the funding to improve these services is often stagnant at best.

It is almost certain that the supply of digital information will continue to skyrocket along with the demand to complement these resources with technology-based instruction. School librarians and those who partner with them will need to combine advocacy efforts with creative solutions for how to stretch funds to accommodate the need for more tech-based learning.

Read the full SLJ report on technology in school libraries 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.

Harris Poll finds that the percent of U.S. adults in favor of banning some books has increased from 18% to 28% since 2011


Librarians have always been strong advocates of free speech who fight to advance free access to information and reduce censorship. Even so, a new Harris Poll online survey of 2,244 American adults shows that many don’t hold the position that all information is created equal.

The survey, which addresses Americans’ beliefs about banned materials by their format, reveals that U.S. adults are more likely to believe that there are books which should be banned than to believe that there are movies, television shows, and video games that deserve the same treatment. In fact, even though nearly half (48%) of the respondents were totally against banning any books, the percent in favor of banning some books has increased by more than half since 2011 (from 18% to 28%).

An interesting finding of the survey is how U.S. adults view information access by the age of the consumer. Three fifths (60%) of respondents were concerned about children’s exposure to explicit language, and almost half (48%) thought violence in books was problematic. Yet when it came to their own reading habits, respondents were much more lenient. Nearly a third (30%) said that they would be more likely to read a book if it had been banned, and two-fifths (40%) would be more drawn to reading a controversial book.

So where do librarians fit into this picture? More than two-thirds (70%) of the survey respondents believe that librarians should prevent children from borrowing inappropriate materials, indicating a disconnect between public opinion and intellectual freedom principles that are central to librarianship. Yet having an understanding of patrons’ diverse expectations about information in its many forms can help libraries to better educate and serve their communities.

Check out all of the results from the survey 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.

84% of Americans are using the internet today according to Pew survey


Image credit: Pew Research Center

As part of its in-depth examination of the role that the internet and technology plays in the lives of Americans, Pew Research Center has released the results of a long-term study of Americans’ access to the internet from 2000 to 2015. The study is based on 97 surveys distributed nationwide throughout the past 15 years.

In 2000, just over half (52%) of American adults were Internet users, while as of 2015 more than four-fifths (84%) of Americans are using the internet. The surveys found that the biggest contributors to internet usage are age, education, household income, race, and the kind of community one lives in. Of these four factors, age and education play the biggest role in determining whether an individual gets online. While nearly all (96%) young adults today use the internet, the number of adults 65 years old and older who do just crept over 50% in 2012. However, older adults are now adopting the internet at a faster rate now than their younger counterparts. Similarly, while an overwhelming majority of adults with a college degree or higher are internet users (95%), that number drops down to just two-thirds (66%) of those who have not completed a high school degree.

Still, it’s clear that the internet has permeated the lives of Americans over a relatively short period of time, reaching full saturation for young adults that are highly educated and live in high-income households. In fact, the internet has become such an integral part of everyday life for most Americans that an 84% usage rate may seem surprisingly low for some. In order to ensure that this number doesn’t plateau, it’s necessary to continue working towards equal resources and access for all Americans.

Read the full results of Pew’s 15-year study on internet access 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.

Follow us on Twitter

More than 1 in 3 students in an academic library survey believe e-books make research easier


With the popularity of e-books in public libraries surging, many academic libraries are still tentatively acquiring e-book collections while debating how they might add to or detract from student research methods. Julie Gilbert and Barbara Fister of Gustavus Adolphus College have published an article in College & Research Libraries that tackles this very question though a survey of 417 students. The aim of their study is to investigate the potential impact of e-books on students reading habits through their current e-book use and their perception of how e-books might alter their reading behaviors in the future.

Even though close to half (42%) of students surveyed already have either e-reader devices or e-reading software on their mobile device or computer, the most prominent use for e-readers was for fiction (84%) and recreational reading rather than research (20%). Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half (56%) of the most frequent visitors to the library said they would be likely to use e-books provided by the library, compared to only a third of those who seldom or never visit the library. This, along with the finding that students who already have e-readers are more likely to use the library for non-research purposes, even for print materials, suggests that those most open to e-books are already the most eager readers.

The survey respondents appeared to be split on their feelings about the ease of e-books. A little more than a third (38%) said e-books would make research easier, almost a third (32%) said e-books would make research more difficult, and nearly the same amount (30%) were unsure. The most cited benefit of e-books was their portability and ease of use, and those who preferred print often did so because it was familiar, as well as easier to flip back and forth between several print books while researching. Preference of e-books was also highly variable depending on the survey respondents’ major. Natural Sciences and Business students were much more likely than those in the Arts and Humanities to embrace research in electronic format.

So, it seems that e-books are gaining ground as a viable format for research to some, but they are still primarily seen as most useful for recreational reading or part of an increasingly diverse mixture of research methods.

You can peruse the full article, available via Open Access by College and Research Libraries, 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.

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%


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.

52% of U.S. public libraries have at least one librarian on staff with an ALA-MLS degree

PLS FY2012_print release

Image credit: IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently sent print copies of its Public Libraries in the United States Report for Fiscal Year 2012 to all state libraries. This is the final result of the statistics and data gathered by state libraries into the Public Libraries Survey (PLS), and here in Colorado through the Public Library Annual Report (PLAR) which wrapped up data collection for 2014 earlier this spring.

We’ve shared some highlights with you earlier this year, but these data are too rich not to share more! Here are a few more stats that help show some interesting relationships between library services:

  • Having e-books in the library collection resulted in an average increase of 1.5 visits per capita (and libraries with e-books had significantly higher rates of circulation per capita than those without)
  • For each $1 spent on electronic materials per capita, 1 more item circulated for every 2 people in the library’s legal service area
  • The number of public access Internet computers has gone up 76% in the past 10 years
  • Funding from local governments has gone up by 7% in the past 10 years
  • Suburban (7.1) and rural (6.7) libraries had higher visit rates per capita than libraries in cities (5.6) or towns (6.1)
  • Circulation per capita was significantly higher (9.3) in libraries serving fewer than 2,500 people than in larger libraries

You can check out the Public Libraries in the United States Report for Fiscal Year 12 in full here. And, preliminary data for Colorado’s 2014 PLAR is available now in 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.

ALA reports close to two-thirds of academic libraries have made changes to their space in the last 3 years


Recently, we posted results from ALA’s 2015 State of America’s Libraries Report about how public libraries are transforming into more digitally inclusive environments in order to better serve the needs of current and future patrons. Public libraries are not the only kind of library undergoing major transformations, however.

ALA’s assessment of academic libraries found that although few libraries have seen increases in funding, many budgets have been re-allocated towards repurposing library space, migrating collections, and increasing staff focus on digital resources. Almost two-thirds (63%) of academic libraries responded that they have found new ways to provide space in the last 3 years, including writing/tutoring centers, quiet study areas, and technology spaces.

These transformational changes seem to have only just begun, too. The academic libraries also reported whether or not they planned on major changes to their library space in the next 5 years, and found that almost four-fifths (79%) of doctoral/research institutions were planning such changes, along with just over two-thirds (69%) of comprehensive institutions, just under two-thirds (65%) of baccalaureate schools, and close to half (45%) of associate-granting institutions.

While academic libraries undergoing major increases or changes in space are hoping for significant increases in usage, initial responses indicate that the libraries are still considered extremely valuable to the academic community. Well over half (59%) of chief academic officers rated library resources as “very effective” – achieving a higher rating than many other campus resources. According to the ALA report, it appears that many academic libraries are well on their way to adjusting to shifting information environments.

Want to know more? Check out the full report detailing school, academic, and public library trends 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.

Low-income households with children are 4X more likely to lack broadband in the home than their higher income counterparts


Image credit: Pew Research

Discussions about the digital divide often focus on technology training for adults and career readiness, but as education shifts its focus towards online resources and learning environments, a major concern is the “homework gap” experienced by many school-age children. The “homework gap” refers to the disadvantages faced by children in households that lack access to broadband services.

An analysis of this broadband “homework gap” by Pew Research Center reveals that approximately 5 million American households with children do not have broadband access. Even more revealing is the fact that households without broadband are predominately black, Hispanic, and low income. Households with children that have an income below $50,000 are 4 times more likely to lack a high-speed internet connection than those above that income marker, and among low-income households with children, blacks and Hispanics are 10 percentage points less likely to have broadband access at home than their white counterparts.

While the FCC’s Lifeline Program is working to revamp their telephone subscription subsidy program so that it would include broadband services, it’s not yet clear how much this would hike up costs and how many of those 5 million households would receive assistance. For the foreseeable future, public libraries are extremely important in helping children and families to close that gap by providing them with access to online educational resources. Providing internet access for school-age children not only affects their ability to get homework done today, but also has bearing on the education and job opportunities available to them in the future.

Read the Pew Research Center’s full analysis of the broadband “homework gap” 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.

Page 2 of 1212345...10...Last »


  • Public Library Statistics & Profiles
    Dive into annual statistics from the Colorado Public Library Annual Report using our interactive tool, results tailored to trustees, and state totals and averages.
  • School Library Impact Studies
    School libraries have a profound impact on student achievement. Explore studies about this topic by LRS and other researchers in our comprehensive guide.
  • Fast Fact Reports
    Looking for a quick rundown of library research? Check out our Fast Facts, which highlight research and statistics about various library topics.


See more @


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).

Staff & Contact Info