While I was at ALA, I had the chance to be exposed to several sessions that presented research that is in a very similar vein to what we’re doing here at the LRS. I’ll mention three such studies that I was able to learn about:
The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill is doing a study that is very close to our hearts – the Workforce Issues in Library & Information Science (http://www.wilis.unc.edu/index.html). They’re treating it as a two-step process. First, they’ve surveyed LIS graduates from their school dating to 1964, and are currently processing that data. Next, they will be using what they’ve done to attempt to develop a model for career tracking of LIS graduates. It should be interesting to see what they come up with.
Second, Old Dominion University is conducting an exploratory study of the relationship between National Board Certification (NBC) in Library Media and Information Science (LMS) and student academic achievement ( http://www.odu.edu/~spribesh/imls-nbc.shtml). This is well in line with the school library impact studies done by LRS and others found at http://www.lrs.org/impact.php.
Finally, I got to sit in on a session presented by OCLC which discussed their study, “From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America” (http://www.oclc.org/reports/funding/default.htm). They’re analyzing the data from a very large study of library support that found, among many other things, that the library’s most committed funding supporters are not the heaviest library users.
Though all of these studies are still in the data analysis stage at the moment, I look forward to seeing what comes from them.
The first year of job postings on LibraryJobline.org has been reviewed and shows some interesting trends in library employment.
The data indicate that new library jobs are being created, the requirement for an MLIS varies by library type, and that there is an increase in desire for Spanish-speaking employees.
See the Fast Facts article here: http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/257_jobline.pdf
Comment on the article here: http://www.lrs.org/blog/
Library Research Service
The U.S. Department of Education recently released the report, Literacy Behind Bars: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey. This report summarizes the findings of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) which assessed the English literacy of incarcerated adults. The first assessment since 1992, the 2003 assessment was administered to approximately 1,200 inmates (ages 16 and older) in state and federal prisons, as well as to approximately 18,000 adults (ages 16 and older) living in households. The prison sample is representative of the 1,380,000 adults in prison and the household sample is representative of the 221,020,000 adults in households in 2003. Both the 1992 and 2003 Assessments, define literacy as: “Using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”
The assessment indicates there is a direct link between literacy and participation in certain activities in prison such as reading, using computers, using the library, and being given the opportunity for certain work assignments.
Many prisons have a library that is available to inmates. However, the opportunity for a prisoner to actually use the library is influenced by a variety of factors including; the hours that the library is open, procedures that inmates must go through to request a visit to the library or delivery of books from the library, and the extent and variety of reading materials available. (According to the Directory of State Prison Librarians 2002, 826 state prisons have a librarian. This is approximately 62% of state prisons according to the most recent report on the number of state correctional facilities in the U.S.)
In general, prison inmates who use the library have higher average prose and quantitative literacy than inmates who never use the library. The report explains, “Library use can be related to literacy in two ways; adults who have higher literacy levels may be more likely to want to access the library and find things to read, and adults who use the library and read more frequently may improve their literacy levels.”
This report is available at: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007473.pdf
Librarians who work in special libraries may be interested in research information posted on our Special Libraries page. As you come upon information that you think should be included on this page, please e-mail us and let us know.
The Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) provides access to information for those with visual, physical, or learning disabilities. The latest Fast Facts, CTBL Provides Essential Service to Community, summarizes the results of the 2006 CTBL customer satisfaction survey. The results show just how much CTBL is valued by the community it serves.
Released this month, highlights from the report include:
* The number of visits to public libraries in the United States increased 61 percent between 1994 and 2004…there were nearly two billion visits to U.S. libraries in fiscal year 2004.
* Circulation at public libraries in the U.S. rose by 28 percent during the decade, partly driven by significant growth in circulation of children’s materials, which grew by 44 percent.
* Attendance in library programs for children was also up 42 percent for this same period.
The complete report and press release is available on the ALA website:
http://www.ala.org/ala/pressreleases2007/march2007/stateoflibraries.htm or http://tinyurl.com/25j52b.
Keith Curry Lance, Ph.D. has retired after 20 years at the Library Research Service (LRS) and 22 years at the Colorado State Library. While Director of LRS, Keith cultivated a center for library research that is one of only a few in the United States. LRS has developed a national reputation for groundbreaking studies about the impact of libraries on student achievement, as well as providing data and tools for public libraries to assess the value and use of their services to the public. Over the past 10 years, LRS has partnered with the University of Denver?s Library and Information Science program, enabling students to actively participate in the research process. Dozens of students have benefited from the mentorship provided by Keith and the staff at LRS.
LRS will continue under the leadership of Nicolle Steffen, MLIS, who was recently appointed the new Director. She has been the Associate Director since 2001. Previously she was with Regis University?s Dayton Memorial Library. Nicolle received her Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Denver and has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing. She is a member of the American Library Association (ALA), the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) and the Special Libraries Association (SLA). She has served as chair of the CAL Intellectual Freedom Committee and has just accepted an appointment to the ALA Human Resource Development and Recruitment Advisory Committee.
LRS will continue to provide the library community, educators, public officials, and the media with research and statistics about libraries.
The Library Research Service of the Colorado State Library and the University of Denver (DU) has awarded its two latest DU Research Fellowships to Beth Strickland and Carla Molliconi. Both new Fellows are candidates for the Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the LIS Program in the DU College of Education. They are the 18th and 19th MLIS candidates to receive this honor since 1996. The LRS recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the partnership between the Colorado State Library and DU that makes possible this fellowship program.
The Library Research Service is ringing in the new year with two new LRS Fellows, Daphne Eastburn and Holly Cole, and a new Practicum student, Schanie Cairns.
Daphne has already updated the Research Methods page on LRS.org, added several new entries to that site?s Field Initiated Studies page, and is updating the mini-brochure, Quotable Facts About Colorado Libraries.
With Daphne, Schanie will be producing a series of ?boilerplate? surveys to assist library managers in assessing user needs, customer satisfaction, and economic value. Schanie will also be contributing to projects related to the changing library workforce, including planning for a longitudinal study of the developing career paths of University of Denver library and information science graduates.
Holly is producing the LRS?s first performance rankings of public libraries in the state, modeling a process that will also be undertaken nationally on behalf of the Federal-State Cooperative (FSCS) for Public Library Data.
The AskColorado statewide virtual reference service recently completed its second year, gaining momentum and receiving positive feedback from its users. Read details about user feedback during AskColorado’s second year of operation at: http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/231_AskCo.pdf.