Archive for the The Weekly Number Category

Frequent library use positively impacts well-being

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Does library use impact people’s sense of well-being? According to the results of a study commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, the answer to this question is yes. This study, conducted by the London School of Economics, examined the impacts of cultural engagement (with the arts and the library) and sports participation on well-being. Using a cost-benefits approach, it found that each of these factors positively impacted well-being, with frequent library use having an impact on well-being equivalent to receiving an annual pay raise of £1,359 (approximately $2,307).

For the data geeks out there who are curious about how the researchers estimated this monetary value, they used a method for non-market valuation called the Well-being Valuation Approach. This approach examines the impact of various non-monetary determinants of well-being (in this case, library use) and then calculates marginal rates of substitution between money and these various determinants. For example:

“if a 20% reduction in local crime rates increases [the well-being] of an individual by one index point and an increase in household income of £5,000 per year also increases [well-being] by one index point, then we would conclude that the 20% reduction in crime is worth £5,000 per year to them” (Fujiwara, Kudrna, & Dolan, 2014, p. 13).

We enjoy discovering unique approaches to estimating the library’s impact. Have you come across any interesting studies lately? 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.

 

64% of U.S. Facebook users visit the site daily

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Image credit: Pew Internet

Facebook turned 10 earlier this year and Pew did a quick survey to make note of new facts regarding the social media behemoth. First off, Facebook is comfortably king: 57% of all adults use the site, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of them using the site daily.

What is it about Facebook that keeps us coming back? Just under half (47%) say photos and videos from friends and being able to share with many people simultaneously (46%) are major reasons for using the site. At the same time, Facebook users are clear about what they don’t like about the site: More than a third (36%) of users cite oversharing and others posting personal information without permission as strong dislikes.

What are people doing on Facebook? Many “like” content posted by friends, with 44% doing so at least once a day and 29% several times a day. Commenting on photos is also popular, with 31% doing so at least once a day and 15% several times a day. At the same time, a quarter of Facebook users never update their own status, while 1 in 10 update daily.

How are libraries reacting to Facebook’s overwhelming popularity with their users? Learn more with our national, longitudinal study on public libraries and social media use and our U.S. and Colorado infographics on our most recent 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.

More than three-fourths of U.S. adults 65+ say they need help to learn new technologies

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Image credit: Pew Internet

A recent Pew Internet study investigates older adults – aged 65 and up – and how this group uses technology and interacts online. While this group may be assumed to be late to the technology game, in fact the research shows two different groups: one that has embraced technology and supports its benefits, and a second group that is more distant from all things digital.

Here’s a quick snapshot of how older adults are using technology: Nearly 3 in 5 older adults use the internet, almost half have a high-speed broadband connection at home, and 77% have a cell phone (just 18% have a smartphone). But younger, higher-income, and college-educated seniors tend to use these technologies at higher rates than their lower-income and less educated peers. Those non-internet users are split on whether they’re hurt by lack of internet access, with about half (49%) agreeing that unconnected people are missing out and 35% disagreeing.

Once older adults become internet users, the online world becomes integrated into their daily lives. Interestingly, just over 4 in 5 older adults who use social networking sites say they socialize with others—in person, online, or over the phone—more often than online seniors who don’t use social media (71%), and much more so than those who aren’t online at all (63%).

When it comes to trying out new technologies, older adults cite health and physical issues, skeptical attitudes about the benefits, and learning challenges. In fact, more than three-fourths of older adults say they would need someone else to help them learn how to use new technologies. This holds true even among those more tech-savvy seniors who own a smartphone, tablet, or e-reader, 70% think they’d still want to ask for help learning new tech. Libraries, there’s your cue!

Here in Colorado, one of the ILEAD USA teams created a resource guide for libraries who are interested in programming geared toward active seniors. And for those 23% of older adults who say they have a physical or health condition that makes reading difficult, the Colorado Talking Book Library has a variety of resources and options to help. How is your library serving your 65+ community?

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.

More than two-thirds of Americans have high or medium engagement with public libraries

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Image credit: Pew Internet

Library data geeks rejoice! Pew Research recently issued its third stage of research about public libraries, this time presenting a typology that clusters Americans into certain groups based on their connection to libraries. The result is a rich and complex portrait of how public libraries fit into people’s lives—we highly recommend reading the full report! To briefly highlight some of the findings, we’ll focus on the highest engaged library users and non-library users.

Three in 10 adults—Library Lovers and Information Omnivores—are highly engaged with public libraries. They’re active community participants, heavy readers, and highly value library services. And they offer one of the most compelling facts about this Pew report: This group of people also includes some of the highest technology users of the sample group. Demographically, this group tends to be younger, female, and well-educated. Members of this group were also likely to be parents, students, and job-seekers—perfect life stages for using those storytimes, resume classes, and research databases.

What about that 14% who have never used a public library? The Distant Admirers (10% of the population) still view libraries positively and feel library services are important to them and their families. The Off the Grid group (4% of the population) is quite distant from the library—although three-fourths of them recognize it would be easy for them to visit a library in person—but this parallels their disengagement with their communities, neighbors, news, and technology.

And exciting news: Pew plans to release a library user type quiz widget for libraries to embed on their websites and capture data on how their community uses the library and compare it to the national picture.

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.

During the next two weeks, 75,000 copies of the book “Grumpy Bird” will be given out to all 4-year-olds in Colorado

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One Book 4 Colorado (OB4CO) is a collaborative effort between Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia’s office, Reach Out and Read Colorado, the Colorado State Library, the Denver Preschool Program, public libraries, the private sector, and the nonprofit and foundation communities. It is based on the idea that providing young children with access to books promotes early literacy and helps families serve as their children’s first and most important teachers.

OB4CO is an annual event that started in 2012. Each year, a book is selected to be given away to all 4-year-olds in Colorado over a two-week period in the spring. This year’s book is Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard. Between April 7 and April 21, 75,000 copies of the book will be distributed via public libraries, health clinics, and preschools in the Denver Preschool Program. Interested in getting a book? You can find pickup locations here.

Evaluation results from last year’s OB4CO giveaway indicate that the program was a great success! Of those parents who completed a survey about the program, about half said that they spent more time reading with their child after OB4CO. And, 4 out of 5 of the participating agencies reported that the book giveaway helped them promote reading among young children. One parent commented: “My daughter is pre-reading, so she is very encouraged that she can ‘read’ parts of this book with me–I will read ‘hello cow,’ and she can ‘read’ the animal noise from the next line. It is really great for her self esteem!”

Want to learn more about early literacy and libraries? Check out our Weekly Number post about the Supporting Parents in Early Literacy Through Libraries (SPELL) project and our Fast Facts, “Early Literacy Information on Colorado Public Library Websites.”

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 2012, 1 in 4 academic libraries offered text reference

NCES 2012 ALS highlights

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released its first look at the 2012 Academic Libraries Survey, which collects data on academic library collections, staff, expenditures, and information literacy services. Here are some of our favorite highlights:

  • 252.6M e-books were held at U.S. academic libraries; 52.7 million of them were added in fiscal year 2012.
  • Academic libraries conducted 28.9 million individual reference services.
  • Academic libraries spent about $1.4 billion on electronic current serial subscriptions, or about half of the $2.8 billion total spent on information resources.
  • More than 3 of 4 (77%) libraries offered reference services by email or online.
  • More than half (55%) incorporated information literacy into student success or learning outcomes.
  • About a quarter (24%) used text or SMS to deliver reference services.
  • Librarians and other professionals made up about 40% of FTE staff at academic libraries.

The full NCES report is available here. And, check out some of our other recent academic library coverage 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.

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.

8,956: Number of public libraries in the U.S. in FY2011

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently released a preview of its Fiscal Year 2011 Public Libraries in the United States Survey, a compilation of responses of 98% of public libraries in the country. (Here in Colorado, our Public Library Annual Report—which just wrapped up data collection for 2013—contributes data to the IMLS survey). The full report is forthcoming, but here are a few of our favorite stats:

  • 95% of the U.S. population is served by nearly 9,000 public libraries.
  • Libraries saw 1.53 billion visits – that’s more than 4.2 million visits per day! (And it’s important to note that that doesn’t include virtual visits.)
  • 2.44 billion materials circulated, or just over 8 items per person.
  • What’s going up: public library program attendance (for the 8th year in a row), number of programs, number of collection materials, number of public access Internet computers.
  • What’s going down: number of FTE staff, in-person visits, number of usage sessions of public access Internet computers. It’s important to note that in the national survey, wireless access uses are not counted, although some states, including Colorado, collect this information. In Colorado, the number of wireless access uses reported increased by 62% from 2011 to 2012.
  • At the same time, the overall number of public librarians has been pretty stable for the past 10 years, hovering around an average 4.0 librarians per 25,000 people.

We’ll be watching for the full report release here. In the meantime, check out IMLS’s state-by-state profiles, and you can find Colorado’s here. Of course you can always access the most recent results from Colorado’s Public Library Annual Report through our interactive tool right here at LRS.org! We just posted the 2013 preliminary data file.

 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.

More than half of Millennials have shared a selfie, but how many have posted a #libraryshelfie?

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Image credit: Linkoping Bibliotek via New York Public Library

Those of you who are familiar with LRS staff may know that a couple of us–Dave and Linda–are photographers. So, we were excited to come across a statistic that touched on our interests in both libraries and photography: a recent Pew study found that more than half of Millennials (ages 18-33) have shared a selfie online, as have about one-fourth of all Americans.

How does this relate to libraries? In January, the New York Public Library designated a day as “library shelfie day.” On this day, they invited patrons to share photos of books (their library’s or their own) on social media with the hashtag #libraryshelfie. Other libraries, such as those at the University of San Francisco, University of California-Davis, and Delaware County Community College joined in on the fun, either by encouraging their users to participate, or by posting photos of their special collections and their staff with their favorite books.

Did your library participate in #libraryshelfie day? If not, why not hold your own event? This is a nice opportunity to encourage your users to engage with you on social media, as well as to reach out to Millennials, who, according to the Pew data, are particularly likely to share.

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.

A survey of US and Canadian public libraries found that 93% offer digital readers’ advisory

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Image credit: Library Journal

Amid the chatter of new technologies and service models, sometimes more “traditional” library services can be lost in the noise. Library Journal surveyed nearly 700 public libraries in the U.S. and Canada to get a better picture of one of those traditional services: readers’ advisory (RA).

While every single library offered personal RA in the library, the actual service model varied. A strong majority (85%) offered RA at the reference desk, and 59% offered the service at the circulation desk. Nearly all respondents also offered self-directed RA, ranging from book displays (94%) to printed resources (75%) to shelf talkers (39%). Digital RA is also popular—more than 9 in 10 libraries (93%) offered it—with most service taking the form of online resources like book lists and read-alikes. Social media is also a popular outlet, with about half of libraries (49%) using social tools specifically for book recommendations.

Nearly 3 in 5 public libraries (59%) measured RA services in some way, typically through usage statistics from e-resources like NoveList (38%) or tracking the number of RA-related questions (24%). Unfortunately, measuring general RA service success is much more limited, with just 9% of libraries monitoring return RA business and only 4% offer a feedback loop on the quality of staff recommendations.

Interestingly, at 7 out of 10 public libraries, RA services were provided by the entire staff. About a quarter of libraries (26%) had certain staff or subject specialists who offered RA, and less than 1 in 10 (9%) had full-time readers’ advisors on staff. Generally, staff felt challenged when faced with keeping up with new books, authors, and genres, but most (61%) rely on book recommendation databases like NoveList and professional journals (42%) to keep up with trends.

Check out our other recent Weekly Number posts where we discuss reports on adults’ reading habits and children’s consumption of educational media.

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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