Public

The Colorado Library Card: A Resource Sharing Success Story

In Spring 1998, 133 (85 percent) of the 156 public, academic, and special libraries participating in the CLC program responded to an evaluation survey. By sector, the response rates were: public, 99 out of 112 or 88 percent; academic, 23 out of 29 or 79 percent; and special, 11 out of 15 or 73 percent. The results indicate that the Colorado Library Card program is an overwhelming success.

  • Colorado Library Card libraries generally extend the same borrowing privileges to other Coloradans as to their primary clientele. This is the core principle of the CLC agreement signed by participating libraries.
    • At 9 out of 10 CLC libraries, non-resident1 users can borrow books and audio books on the same terms as residents, as well as return materials borrowed from other libraries. Among the respondents, such privileges are almost universal among public and special libraries and are extended by 3 out of 4  academic libraries.

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

Public Library Statistics: How Colorado Ranks

In 1996, Colorado ranked in the top half of the states on most public library statistics. Three statistics on which the state ranked in the middle among the lowest are noteworthy:

  • Colorado was one of only a half dozen states in which public libraries received no regular income from state government. In every other state, equity of access to public library services is guaranteed by a reliable, annual program of state funding. Among the vast majority of states with such programs, the level of support averaged two dollars per capita.
  • Colorado ranks in the middle of the 50 states and D.C. on several statistics:
    • Colorado is 18th in staff per 25,000 served
    • Colorado is 19th in visits per capita
    • Colorado is 23rd in ILLS received per 1,000 served

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

Almost 7 Million Americans “Unserved” by Public Libraries

According to 1996 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (with some corrections from a few state library agencies), 6,908,844 Americans in 24 states live beyond the legal service area of any public library—roughly the equivalent of the entire Washington, DC, or San Francisco metropolitan area. These individuals are “unserved,” as there is no public library legally responsible for meeting their needs for reading matter, information, and access to the “information superhighway.” Reasons for this situation, include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In many U.S. counties, there are only municipal libraries, and no provision is made for countywide service that covers residents of unincorporated areas.
  • Some units of government (e.g., counties, cities, towns, townships) that are not part of larger units of service (e.g., library districts, county library systems) cannot afford to support libraries.
  • A few local governments have even closed public libraries due to fiscal problems.
  • Beyond such circumstances, which explain the actual absence of any public library service, some public libraries are so inadequate in terms of local support, staffing, hours of service, or the like, that they are not recognized by the state library agency as a public library.

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

Public Library Salary Spending Compares Unfavorably with Average Teacher Pay

According to Public Library Standards for Colorado 1997, public libraries serving populations under 2,500 should have directors employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week, those serving 2,500 to 9,999, 30 hours per week, and those serving 10,000 and over, 40 hours per week. This standard implies that, in general, libraries should be open and staffed for such hours.

To estimate what staffing public libraries at such levels would cost—allowing for differences from one jurisdiction to another—the average salary for one public school teacher in the same area was used as a benchmark—indeed, a very conservative one.

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

“De-Brucing” Colorado Public Library Income & Expenditures

Since passage of Amendment 1, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment, many public library districts and county libraries with dedicated mill levies have taken steps to exempt their income and expenditures from the restrictions imposed by that measure. In order to respond to many requests for data about this phenomenon, the Library Research Service surveyed all such libraries to learn what steps, if any, of this sort they have taken. Surveys were sent to 56 libraries in the state. Of the 43 surveys returned, 19 have taken no “de-Brucing” action since enactment of the TABOR amendment. Of the remaining 23—20 libraries reported a “win” at the ballot box between 1995 and 1997! Some of these had mixed results. For instance, Pine River LD reported a loss when requesting a mill levy increase, while receiving a “yes” from voters in its request to keep and spend all income indefinitely.

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

The Role of Academic and Public Libraries in Distance Education

In October 1997, the National Center for Education Statistics released a statistical analysis report titled Distance Education in Higher Education Institutions (NCES 98-062). A few of the questions in this survey concerned the role of academic and public libraries in distance education. Three of these questions yielded especially interesting results.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Public libraries popular sites for delivery of distance education courses.
  • Library resources most often extended to distance learners from four-year institutions.
  • Lack of library resources perceived as a serious obstacle to starting or expanding programs.

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

Only Three Out of Five American Communities Have Public Library Outlets

One of the quintessential landmarks in the Norman Rockwell image of the American town is the public library building. But, this traditional conception has little to do with contemporary reality. In metropolitan areas, the public library is usually represented not by a single building, but by a large central library and numerous neighborhood branches. Many New England towns have multiple public libraries. In outlying rural areas, public libraries are occasionally found where there is not even a “wide spot in the road.” Generally, however, most people assume that every place big enough to have a local government has a public library, whether it is a creature of the city or town in which it is located or part of a countywide system or library district.

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

Coloradans–and Colorado Public Libraries–Top National Internet Norms

Recent state and national surveys indicate that Coloradans—and Colorado public libraries—meet or exceed several national norms regarding the Internet. Coloradans are 38 percent more likely to be regular Internet users. Nationwide, 34 percent of American adults use the Internet on at least a monthly basis, but 47 percent of Colorado adults do so. Similarly, the state’s public libraries are 22 percent more likely than libraries nationwide to provide Internet access. Sixty percent of U.S. public libraries provide Internet access, compared with 73 percent in Colorado.

Colorado public libraries enjoy this distinction whether they are in urban (i.e., metropolitan) or rural (i.e., non-metropolitan) areas (see table in full report).

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

Public Libraries, Education, Technology, and Colorado Kids

Ninety-five percent of Colorado households report having one or more members who used the services of a public library within the past year, according to a 1996 public opinion poll by MGA Communications, Inc. For households including children younger than age 18, that figure is 96 percent—a negligible 1 percent difference. Beyond that basic fact, however, there are many noteworthy differences in the responses from households with children and those without children.

  • Families with kids use public libraries more often. Households with children are more than twice as likely to visit libraries on a weekly basis and more than 20 percent more likely to visit libraries once or twice a month.
  • Families with kids are more likely to use library technology. Two out of 3 households with children report using library computers to find information not available locally. Less than half of households without children report such use.

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

ACLIN & Internet Services in Colorado Public Libraries, 1997

While many still think of libraries primarily as warehouses for books, almost all of Colorado’s public libraries now provide electronic access to information. The two primary channels of such access are ACLIN, the Access Colorado Library and Information Network, and the global Internet. ACLIN includes OVER 230 library catalogs and other informational databases.

Electronic Access to Information
The most ubiquitous form of electronic access to information in Colorado public libraries is to ACLIN. All Coloradans living in public library service areas of 5,000 or more can consult ACLIN at their libraries. The overwhelming majority of the state’s smallest public libraries also provide ACLIN access.

Click the Download Report button at right to continue reading this Fast Facts.

Page 14 of 15« First...1112131415

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
    Looking for a quick rundown of library research? Check out our Fast Facts, which highlight research and statistics about various library topics.

LIBRARYJOBLINE

See more @ LibraryJobline.org

ABOUT

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).

Staff & Contact Info