Archive for the The Weekly Number Category

Colorado public libraries reported 39 challenges to materials and services in 2012

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Public libraries reported only 39 challenges to their materials and services in 2012, through LRS’s annual Public Library Annual Report. The number – down 35 percent from 2011 – is the lowest in at least nine years. More than half (51%) of the challenges pertain to books, though audiobook-related challenges rose by a substantial 550 percent from 2011 to 2012, and now account for 13 percent of all challenges. Challenges to items geared toward children also increased dramatically in 2012, and now make up one-third (33%) of all challenges. The reasons cited for the challenges are in keeping with the previous five years, with “sexually explicit” appearing most frequently. Also mirroring previous years: A majority (85%) of the 2012 challenges resulted in no change to the challenged item, such as removal or reclassification.

For more information on this topic, check out our new Fast Facts, Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2012. Also, tell us your thoughts about the decline in challenges in recent years, by commenting on our Twitter feed.

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.

93% of the largest U.S. public libraries (serving 500,000+) are on Facebook

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Our new report, U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2012, presents the findings of our longitudinal study of nearly 600 U.S. public libraries’ use of web technologies and social media. One of our main findings was that in 2012, the majority of libraries had social media accounts:

  • Almost all (93%) of the largest libraries (serving 500,000+), a little more than 4 in 5 (83%) libraries serving between 25,000 and 499,999, 7 in 10 (69%) of those serving 10,000 to 24,999, and 54 percent of the smallest libraries (serving less than 10,000) had at least one social media account.
  • Of the 9 social networks that were analyzed, libraries were most likely to be on Facebook (93% of the largest libraries, 82% of libraries serving between 25,000 and 499,999, 68% of libraries serving between 10,000 and 24,999, and 54% of the smallest libraries). From 2010 to 2012, the smallest libraries had the biggest jump in adoption of this social network, from 18 percent to 54 percent.
  • Other common social networks were Twitter (84% of the largest libraries were on this network) and YouTube (60% of the largest libraries). Flickr was also common, however, it has decreased in all population groups from 2010 to 2012; for example, 63 percent of the largest libraries used this social network in 2010 versus 42 percent in 2012.
  • Close to one-third (31%) of the largest libraries were on Foursquare, 23% were on Pinterest, and 8 percent each were on Google+ and Tumblr.
  • The largest libraries were on an average of 3.54 social networks out of the 9 included in the analysis, whereas the smallest libraries averaged less than 1.

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

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.

 

From 2010 to 2012, the percentage of U.S. public library websites catering to mobile devices increased dramatically

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Image credit: Los Gatos Library

We recently released a report, U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2012, that presents the findings of our longitudinal study of nearly 600 U.S. public libraries’ use of web technologies and social media. One of our main findings was that from 2010 to 2012, the percentage of libraries catering to mobile devices increased dramatically. Researchers looked for any of the following types of mobile-friendly website access:

  • Mobile version of website: The URL redirects to a mobile site (e.g., “m.citylibrary.org”) when viewed on a mobile device.
  • Mobile app:  A software application is downloaded by users to run on their smartphones or other mobile devices.
  • Responsive design: The website is designed in a way that is accessible to a wide range of devices, from smartphones to desktop LCDs, through the use of fluid, proportion-based grids, flexible images, and media queries.

We found that three-fourths of the largest libraries (serving 500,000+), about 3 in 5 libraries serving between 25,000 and 499,999, one-third of libraries serving between 10,000 and 24,999, and 17% of the smallest libraries (serving less than 10,000) offered some type of mobile-friendly website access. In contrast, in 2010, just 12% of the largest libraries, 3% of libraries serving between 100,000-499,999, and no libraries serving less than 100,000 offered mobile-friendly website access.

In terms of the specific type of mobile access,

  • 3 in 5 of the largest libraries, about half of libraries serving between 25,000 and 499,999, 1 in 5 libraries serving between 10,000 and 24,999, and 2% of the smallest libraries offered apps;
  • 2 in 5 of the largest libraries, about one-fourth of libraries serving between 25,000 and 499,999, 1 in 5 libraries serving between 10,000 and 24,000, and 14% of the smallest libraries had mobile versions of their sites; however,
  • just 9 libraries used responsive design.

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

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.

Text reference increased by as much as 375% in U.S. public libraries from 2010 to 2012

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Image credit: Free Library of Philadelphia

Earlier this week, we released a report, U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2012, that presents the findings of our longitudinal study of nearly 600 U.S. public libraries’ use of web technologies and social media. One element that we examined was virtual reference–email, chat, and text. Our findings showed that in 2008, 2010, and 2012, email was the most popular form of virtual reference. In 2012, well over half of libraries serving populations of at least 100,000 provided email reference services, as did nearly half of libraries serving 25,000-99,999. However, it appears that email reference is waning a bit in popularity, as libraries serving 100,000+ as well as the smallest libraries (serving less than 10,000) showed decreases from 2010.

Chat reference was still offered by many public libraries but it has also declined from 2010 to 2012, with substantial drops at the larger libraries: libraries serving 500,000+ dropped from 71% to 57% and those serving 100,000-499,999 fell from 49% to 38%.

In contrast, text reference has seen extensive growth in libraries. Just 13% of the largest libraries (serving 500,000+) offered text reference in 2010; in 2012, more than 3 times as many (43%) did. About 1 in 5 libraries (19%) serving 100,000-499,999 offered text reference services in 2012 compared to just 4% in 2010. And, more than twice as many libraries serving 25,000-99,999 offered text reference in 2012 than 2010 (9% vs. 4%), as did more than 3 times as many libraries serving 10,000-24,999 (7% vs. 2%) . None of the smallest libraries offered text reference in 2010, whereas 2% did so in 2012.

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

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 library computer users use computers for employment purposes

40% of library computer users use computers for employment purposes

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In 2010, researchers from the University of Washington released the study “Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries.” This study was a national effort that consisted of a random telephone survey, online surveys of library users, interviews, and focus groups to determine who library internet computer users were, why they were using the computers, and how this service benefited their lives.

The results showed that library internet computer users’ three most common reasons for using the computers were social connections (60%), education (42%), and employment (40%).  This study also found that library computer use was most common among people in poverty, people of mixed race and Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders, 14-18 year olds, men, and people who speak languages other than English at home.

The survey used in this study was the Impact Survey, which is now freely available to U.S. public libraries. If you are interested in learning more about the demographics of your computer users and their reasons for using the library computers, this might be a good option for you. After administering the survey to your patrons, you will receive customized reports that can be used for planning, marketing, and advocacy purposes. Check out the Impact Survey website for more information about how your library can participate in this study.

Looking for other resources for library user surveys? Check out our user satisfaction survey templates. These consist of 3 survey templates that you can download and modify for use in your library, as well as tips and best practices for survey design and administration.

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.

31% of adult internet users upload or post videos online

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Image Credit: Pew Internet

 

Videos are becoming more and more popular sources of entertainment, education, and learning. Not only are many people watching videos online—nearly 4 out of 5 (78%) of online adults do—but 31 percent of them are also posting or uploading videos to the internet, according to a new Pew Internet report complete with its own video summary. Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) online adults have posted videos they themselves have taken or created. Many are posting and watching video through social networking sites which make it even easier to share content online. The most popular genres to watch are comedy/humor (57% of online adults), how-to (56%), educational (50%), and music (50%). Of online adults who post their own videos online, family, friends, and events are most often the subjects.

So where can all this digital content be created? One resource is at Denver Public Library, where teens are getting into the maker movement using the Community Technology Center’s ideaLAB to create original videos, record music, and learn software. The digital media creation space was funded in part by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant. Their projects are based on core STEM principles and 21st century skills and developed through creative making, tinkering, and playing. And ideaLAB is wildly popular: the space has seen more than 600 visits and more than 200 projects created. In fact, the lab is so popular, DPL has launched an indiegogo campaign to help expand and support the creative space and makers.

Interested in all things maker? Check out the Colorado State Library’s resources at http://create.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/library-makerspaces. And don’t miss the “train the trainer” tools, digital creation software tips, and lesson plans, and more on CSL’s Library Creation & Learning Centers site, http://create.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/.

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.

Less than 38% of young Americans can complete tech tasks more difficult than sorting e-mails into folders.

Group of students in library using tablet PC

Although the United States invented the personal computer, its young adults are falling behind many other countries in their technological proficiency, according to a recent article in Education Week. The article cites a study performed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in which young adults aged 16 – 24 years, from 19 countries, attempted to perform tasks of three different difficulty levels, including sorting e-mails into folders, organizing data into spreadsheets, and managing reservations for virtual meeting rooms. Young adults from the U.S. performed the worst, as less than 38 percent could successfully complete tasks more difficult than sorting e-mails into folders; and 11 percent were unable to perform the most basic exercises – the second-highest rate among the participating countries. In comparison, 44 percent of Sweden’s young adults achieved the two highest levels of proficiency.

How can the U.S. facilitate digital literacy among young adults? Educators, in particular, can play a role by introducing students to various technologies, and teaching them to use them. In fact, school librarians are uniquely positioned to work with students to increase these skills, with their emphases on 21st-century instruction strategies such as teaching students to use digital resources and to use technology to organize and share information. Also, Brian Lewis, the chief executive officer of the International Society for Technology Education, an educational technology advocacy group, recommends that educators engage students with technologies they are already accustomed to, such as digital games. Once educators have captured their students’ attention, they can then focus their attention toward using technology for, perhaps, less fun, but more useful, purposes.

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, academic librarians in the West & Southwest out-earned all-US-region averages in 11 of 17 job categories

In 2012, academic librarians in the West & Southwest out-earned all-US-region averages in 11 of 17 job categories

FF_Academic lib salariesOur newest Fast Facts report analyzes results from the 2012 American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) Salary Survey to better understand how academic librarians’ salaries in the West and Southwest (the region including Colorado) compare to other regions. The survey breaks down salaries by job category and institution type, and it covers positions that require an ALA-accredited MLIS/MLS and offer salaries of more than $22,000.

What did we find? University librarians in the West and Southwest earned higher average salaries in every job position in 2012. Directors and librarians who don’t supervise others earned more in average salary in the West and Southwest across all institution types. But two-year college librarians had challenges: middle management (managers and department heads) and deputy directors in the West and Southwest earned less than the average salaries in all regions.

Read more about the 2012 salary figures in our infographic and Fast Facts report, 2012 Academic Librarian Salaries: The West & Southwest Region Remains Competitive. And compare these figures with 2010 ALA-APA Salary Survey results in Fast Facts No. 297, 2010 Academic Librarian Salaries: West and Southwest Region Offers Competitive Pay.

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.

21% of Americans without health insurance do not use the internet

21% of Americans without health insurance do not use the internet

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Image Credit: Pew Research Center

On October 1, 2013, open enrollment began under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and approximately 2.8 million Americans visited Healthcare.gov to compare and apply for health coverage. For many, the online portal is the easiest and quickest way to accomplish these tasks and find related resources. Unfortunately, this option is not a viable one for the 15 percent of American adults who don’t use the internet for various reasons, as discussed in one of our recent Weekly Number posts. Furthermore, the Pew Research Center recently found that about 1 in 5 (21%) uninsured Americans don’t use the internet.

Forever devoted to the principle of equitable access, libraries are integral in ensuring that these offline parties are not denied the opportunity to obtain affordable health coverage. Those who do not use the internet due to lack of access will find it offered for free at the library, and those experiencing difficulty in navigating the internet might benefit from library programs aimed at teaching basic technology skills. Additionally, libraries across the country have taken special efforts to disseminate information about the ACA, and help interested parties obtain coverage. In Colorado, for example, interested parties can find a list of library presentations on the ACA throughout the state—and elsewhere—via the Connect for Health Colorado portal, or via individual libraries’ websites (e.g., the Denver Public Library’s “Affordable Care Act” page). At other libraries, such as the Waukegan Public Library in Illinois, patrons can “drop in” for bilingual group or one-on-one sessions with library staff to determine their eligibility for certain plans, compare prices, and apply for coverage. The passage of the ACA has afforded libraries another opportunity to demonstrate that they are receptive and responsive toward community needs, and they are surely up to the task.

Additional resources:

 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 3 out of 4 public libraries in the U.S. serve communities of less than 25,000 people

More than 3 out of 4 public libraries in the U.S. serve communities of less than 25,000 people

small_librariesImage credit: IMLS

What’s not surprising: rural and small libraries provide critical resources and serve as community anchors to populations of less than 25,000 and non-urban areas. What is surprising? That small and rural libraries make up more than 80 percent of U.S. libraries as of Fiscal Year 2011, according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) brief, “The State of Small and Rural Libraries in the United States.” Across the country, more than 3 out of 4 public libraries serve communities of less than 25,000 people, and nearly half of all U.S. public libraries are in rural areas. The breakdown of “small” and “rural” in Colorado’s 114 public libraries follows fairly closely to national numbers: 54 percent of public libraries are rural while 76 percent are small, according to the IMLS data. (It is important to note that while most rural libraries are also small, not all small libraries are also rural. Get more details about these differences, as well as the breakdown of subcategories within these identifiers, in the full IMLS briefing.)

As might be expected, rural areas have more difficulty obtaining broadband access than their urban counterparts. However, rural libraries are working to ease this divide by increasing the number of public access computers (see the Colorado State Library’s BTOP project for an example of this), up more than 20 percent across 3 years (FY2009-FY2011). Across the same time period, small libraries have had a similar increase in the number of public access computers (18%). Interestingly, libraries serving communities of less than 25,000 provide 21.1 million e-books to their users, or 60 percent of all e-book holdings in the U.S.

And it’s not just technology: both rural and small libraries have seen increases in overall circulation and visitation from FY2009 to FY2011. In fact, visits per capita are higher at rural and small libraries—7.6 visits per year and 5.5 visits per year—than at their more urban and larger (serving 25,000+) counterparts at 5.7 visits per year and 4.5 visits per year, respectively.

Interested in showing how your small or rural library is making an impact? View your library’s annual statistics through our interactive tool, as well as state totals, averages, and ratios. And don’t forget other sources of public library data, such as the Public Library Funding and Technology Access study and the Public Library Data Service study, that also provide useful information.

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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