Archive for the Web 2.0 Category

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


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.

U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2012

U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2012


Our new report, U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2012, presents the findings of the third iteration of our biennial study, launched in 2008, that documents the use of various web technologies (social networking, virtual reference,  blogs, etc.) on the websites of nearly 600 public libraries throughout the nation. Our results showed that U.S. public libraries made big gains in the following areas from 2010 to 2012:

  • Social networking: More than half of all libraries were on Facebook. For libraries serving populations of 25,000-499,999, this number jumped to 4 in 5, and to more than 9 in 10 for the largest libraries (serving 500,000+). The smallest libraries (serving less than 10,000) showed the biggest increase in adoption of this social network from 2010 to 2012: 18% to 54%.
  • Mobile access: In 2010 we detected the presence of any type of mobile-friendly website access in only 12 percent of the largest public libraries, 3 percent of libraries serving 100,000-499,999, and no libraries serving less than 100,000. In 2012, three-fourths of the largest libraries offered mobile-friendly access, followed by about 3 in 5 libraries serving 25,000-499,999, one-third of libraries serving 10,000-24,000, and 17% of the smallest libraries.
  • Text reference: From 2010 to 2012, text reference increased by 231% in the largest libraries, 375% in libraries serving 100,000-499,999, 125% in libraries serving 25,000-99,999, and 250% in libraries serving 10,000-24,999.

Check out the following resources to learn more:

31% of adult internet users upload or post videos online

Pew_Video Popularity

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 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,

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.

72% of online adults use social networking sites

72% of online adults use social networking sites

Pew_Adult Social Media Use

You suspected it, but here’s the proof: nearly three-quarters of online adults use social media, according to a May 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center. And more and more older adults are using them, too: adoption rates have jumped to 43 percent among those 65 and older.

So what does this mean for libraries? Meet your users where they are – in this case, on social networking sites. Preliminary data from an LRS study of public library websites and social media use suggest that libraries are getting there: almost 3 in 4 public libraries from our national sample were on Facebook and 2 in 5 were on Twitter. Stay tuned to for final results from our biennial study. In the meantime, take a look at what we found in 2008 and 2010 on our page devoted to 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.

Slides are now available for our Computers in Libraries presentation

Last week, we presented the results of our study “Web Technologies and User Engagement” at Computers in Libraries. Here are the slides:

A report detailing all of the findings will be available soon–stay tuned!

Join us at Computers in Libraries next week!

Will you be attending Computers in Libraries this year? If so, we hope you’ll join us on Monday, April 8 at 3:15 pm in the International Ballroom West for our presentation, “Web Technologies and User Engagement.” We will share our latest results from our biennial study of the websites of nearly 600 U.S. public libraries, including:

  • which web features, such as sharing interfaces,  virtual reference, and blogs, are most common on U.S. public libraries’ websites as of 2012,
  • the extent to which public libraries use responsive and/or mobile-friendly web design, and
  • public libraries’ integration with various social media networks.

Our discussion will be framed in terms of the implications of these web features for usability and patron engagement.

New Fast Facts: Colorado School Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2011-2012

Our newest Fast Facts uses data from the 2011-2012 Colorado School Library Survey to assess the degree to which public school libraries with endorsed librarians use web technologies. The results indicate that more school libraries offer basic web technologies (e.g., a website, OPAC) than Web 2.0-related technologies, such as wikis and Facebook. Additionally, use of these technologies varies in accordance with the grade level and enrollment of the school served. Middle schools are most likely to use Web 2.0 technologies, while school libraries at schools with more than 1,000 students are most likely to offer most of the technologies noted in the survey.


Public Libraries in the Digital Age

Pew researchers gave a presentation at COSLA‘s spring meeting this week, “Public Libraries in the Digital Age.” The presentation slides as well as fact sheets on e-reading and Pew’s timeline for their 3-year study of libraries can be found at this link:


Pew Research Center Announces New Public Library Research Initiative

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the role of the public library in the digital age. Over a three year period, they will conduct national surveys, surveys of library patrons, and focus groups to assess library use and preferences in the midst of the changing digital landscape.

You can find more information about this initiative at

New article in Computers in Libraries–U.S. Public Libraries and Web Technologies

We have an article in the September 2011 issue of Computer in Libraries, “U.S. Public Libraries and Web Technologies: What’s Happening Now?”. It highlights the findings from a study about public libraries’ use of Web 2.0 technologies that we released last spring (available as a Closer Look report). Key findings from the study included that:

  • 80% of U.S. public libraries serving LSA populations of 500,000+ had a Facebook account in 2010. More than half (58%) of libraries serving 100,000-499,999 people were on Facebook, as were 56% of libraries serving 25,000-99,999 people.
  • In 2010, 66% of public libraries serving LSA populations of 500,000+ had a Twitter account.
  • Even when controlling for staff and collection expenditures, being an “early adopter” library (i.e., libraries in the top 20% of their population group in terms of Web 2.0 adoption) was a significant predictor of visits, circulation, and program attendance.

Colorado-specific findings from this study are available in a Fast  Facts.

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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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