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Special Library Salaries in Mountain Region Lag Behind Nation

Money is always a hot topic in any profession and librarianship is no exception. Salary information is always interesting to note because of the wide ranges in pay—from different types of libraries to different types of positions. Since 1967, the Special Libraries Association (SLA) has conducted a salary and workplace survey that focuses on that sector of librarianship in both the United States and Canada. In 2005, there were a little over 3,000 completed surveys (a 35% response rate). Over half of the respondents were located in the southern states and, of the respondents from the United States, about 3 percent were from the Mountain area.

In 2005, the overall average salary for the “Mountain” region—which includes Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming—was $56,524. The gap between the Mountain region and the United States as a whole was largest, by far, for administration/management positions. Average Mountain region salaries consistently lag behind the national average for all position types (see chart in full report).

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How Students and Faculty Use Academic Libraries Differently

As part of the 2005 Colorado Academic Library Impact Study, undergraduate students and faculty from nine colleges and universities were asked to provide information about the services they use at their institution’s library. They were also asked about their success in accessing resources through their own library and other libraries.

Highlights
• Library computer access is utilized by students far more than by faculty.
• The use of interlibrary loan services is much more widespread among faculty members than students.
• Only slightly more than half of surveyed faculty (52%) feel they can usually find the print periodicals they need through their institution’s library.

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Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2005

Each year the Library Research Service collects data on the state’s public libraries via the Colorado Public Library Annual Report survey. A section of that survey is focused on formal challenges to materials receive by libraries throughout the year. The American Library Association (ALA) defines a challenge as “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group…Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.” In the 2005 survey, 26 public libraries from across the state reported 104 formal challenges. Seventeen more challenges were reported for 2005 than for 2004, and 41 more challenges were reported for 2005 than for 2003 (see Chart 1 in full report).

Highlights

  • Of all reported challenges, 21 percent concerned the Spanish language comics called fotonovelas.
  • In 2005, only 3 items were challenged more than once at Colorado public libraries: Oregon Trail, Paris Trout, and Angels in America.
  • By far, the most frequent reason given for challenging materials in the library was that the content is “sexually explicit.”

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Access to Internet Goes Hand in Hand with Other Public Library Services

With public sector budgets tightening in recent years, one might wonder if public library administrators and boards are having to make difficult decisions between traditional library services—lending books, audio books, music CDs, and DVDs—and Internet-based services. National data for 2003 suggests that providing public access to Internet computers is now part of the mainstream of public library services. Three major per capita service outputs—library visits, circulation, and reference questions—tend to increase with the number of public Internet computers per 5,000 of legal service area population.

This pattern does not necessarily indicate that the availability of public Internet computers drives other types of library use; but, it does suggest that, more often than not, libraries that do more business in traditional ways are also likely to provide more access to Internet-based services. (See Chart in full report. Note: Each bar represents a quartile of U.S. public libraries on public Internet computers per 5,000 served: libraries with fewer than 2 computers, between 2 and 4 computers, between 4 and 8 computers, and 8 or more computers.)

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Training Jumpstarts Early Literacy Services

During Fall 2004 and early Winter 2005, the Colorado State Library, with the involvement of key library leaders, initiated a statewide effort to help libraries improve their services in early literacy. The project was based on the Every Child Ready to Read @your library campaign, an early childhood initiative of the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children.

As part of this project, seven early literacy workshops were held across the state. They covered current research on early literacy development and presented examples of the development of the six early literacy skills. The workshops were conducted by Renea Arnold, Early Childhood Resources Coordinator, Multnomah County Public Library, Oregon, and Bonnie McCune, Library Community Programs Consultant, Colorado State Library. Approximately 125 individuals received the training.

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Salaries of Librarians and Other Professionals Working in Libraries

Questions about library staff salaries are some of the more frequently posed to the LRS staff. To help answer these questions, we consulted the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) produced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The data is gathered and reported using the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) System. The SOC combines library workers from all types of library settings under the broad occupational categories of Librarian, Library Technician, and Library Assistant.

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Early Literacy Initiative Impacts Public Library Services for Young Children

Since early 2004, the Colorado State Library (CSL) has been encouraging and supporting public library efforts to teach pre-reading activities and skills to young children, their parents, and childcare providers. Through its multifaceted early literacy initiative, CSL:

  • Provides resource materials about reading readiness for parents and caregivers
  • Encourages outreach and visibility through partnerships with community, education, and business organizations
  • Assists libraries that wish to train staff, volunteers, and parents and further develop their early literacy services
  • Trains librarians to teach and model skill-building techniques.

Integral to this mission, in November 2004 and February 2005, CSL conducted a series of seven training workshops around the state. Based on the Public Library Association’s program, Every Child Ready to Read @ your library (http://www.ala.org/ala/pla/plaissues/earlylit/earlyliteracy.htm), each workshop provided attendees with early literacy research materials and hands-on skill building techniques. Approximately 125 individuals—librarians, child care providers, and others—participated in these workshops.

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Remote and On-Site Use of Colorado Academic Libraries

As computers and digital technologies continue to play a greater role in the lives of college students and faculty, the ways in which these two groups utilize their academic libraries will certainly continue to change. In order to provide insight into the nature of academic library usage, the 2005 Colorado Academic Library Impact Study asked undergraduate students and faculty from 9 Colorado colleges and universities about their experiences and attitudes relating to their institutions’ libraries. Students and faculty members were asked to estimate what proportion of their time using library resources was spent at their college or university libraries, and what proportion was spent accessing library resources remotely from other locations.

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The Average Copyright of Colorado School Library Books is (Still) 15 Years Old

In 2001, the average copyright of a book collection in Colorado school libraries was 1986—over 15 years old. Although the average copyright has increased to 1991, the age of Colorado school library collections has not. In schools, access to information is essential, but the information students are retrieving is often older than they are.

Consider some of the major events that have occurred since 1991:

  • Bill Clinton is elected as the 42nd president (1992).
  • The World Trade Center is bombed the first time (1993).
  • Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president (1994).
  • The Oklahoma City bombing occurs at the Alfred P. Murrah federal building (1995).
  • The first version of Java programming language is released (1996).
  • Dolly the sheep is the first mammal to be successfully cloned (1997).
  • Google is founded (1998).
  • The Columbine High School shooting occurs Littleton, Colorado (1999).

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Home-Based Education and Colorado Public Libraries

Home-based education is defined as an education program whose instruction takes place at home, is implemented by “the child’s parent or by an adult relative of the child designated by the parent” and is not managed by a school district. The homeschool population is small within Colorado and across the nation, however, as Colorado’s home-based education numbers decrease, the nation’s numbers are rising.

According to the Colorado Department of Education, in Fall 2003, 8,591 children were educated at home in Colorado and those numbers dropped by 18% to 7,081 in 2004. Between 2000 and 2004 there has been a steady decrease in reported homeschooled students—the only exception being 2001, in which there was a 3.2% increase. Conversely, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports in Homeschooling in the United States: 2003 that “the percentage of the entire student population who were being homeschooled increased from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.2 percent in 2003.”

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POPULAR RESOURCES

  • 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
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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.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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