Technology

State Grants to Libraries: First Look at 2013-14

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2013-14 Annual Colorado School Library Survey Highlights

The Colorado School Library Survey is administered each year by the Library Research Service, an office of the Colorado State Library. Surveys are sent to traditional K-12 public educational institutions. Statewide estimates are produced by weighting survey data to reflect the universe of school libraries in Colorado. Survey responses are totals based on results from the school library staff who participated in the survey. This report highlights results from the 2013-14 Colorado School Library Survey.

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2012-13 Annual Colorado School Library Survey Highlights

2012-13 Annual Colorado School Library Survey Highlights

The Colorado School Library Survey is administered each year by the Library Research Service, an office of the Colorado State Library. Surveys are sent to traditional K-12 public educational institutions. Statewide estimates are produced by weighting survey data to reflect the universe of school libraries in Colorado. Survey responses are totals based on results from the school library staff who participated in the survey. This report highlights results from the 2012-13 Colorado School Library Survey.

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Colorado’s Public Computer Centers: Bridging Colorado’s Great Digital Divide

This Fast Facts presents data summarizing equipment installation, digital literacy efforts, and computer use in Colorado during the two-year Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant project, from April 2011 to March 2013. For more insight into the project, visit www.lrs.org/btop-evaluation and read previous Fast Facts covering class participant satisfaction survey results and workforce efforts and partnerships, as well as an outcome evaluation report.

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Computers in Colorado’s Public Libraries

Colorado’s 115 public library jurisdictions provide their communities with access to technology and web
services. From wireless connectivity to always-accessible databases, public libraries are humming with
21st-century tools. Highlights from the 2012 Public Library Annual Report offer the details:

Technology Services Available Inside the Library

PDF version of this infographic.

Trends in Colorado Public Library Websites and Social Media Use

In 2008, the Library Research Service launched the biennial study, U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, with the intent to document the use of various web technologies on the websites of public libraries throughout the nation. From its inception, it was conceived as a longitudinal study, with plans to revisit the sample libraries every two years to track changes in libraries’ uses of web technologies. The study is conducted as a content analysis: researchers analyze a random sample, stratified based on legal service area (LSA) population, of public library websites throughout the United States (584 in 2012), as well as the websites of all public libraries in Colorado (114—9 of which are in the national sample). The results of the 2008 study set a baseline for the adoption of web technologies nationwide. The study was repeated in 2010 and 2012, and these iterations expanded upon the 2008 findings by tracking the trends in U.S. public libraries’ use of web technologies over time as well as by examining new technologies as they emerged. Highlights from the Colorado portion of the 2012 study are presented below, in both graphical and text format:

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In 2012, 9 in 10 Colorado public libraries had websites, including:

  • all of those serving LSA populations of 100,000+ and 10,000-24,999;
  • 93 percent of those with LSA populations of 25,000-99,999; and,
  • more than 4 in 5 (85%) of those serving LSA populations less than 10,000 (up from 79% in 2010).

Over time, Colorado public library websites were analyzed for the presence of several web features that enable interactivity with users (for example, virtual reference, blogs, etc.). Some notable findings included:

  • Technologies that increased from 2010 to 2012 included: online library card sign up (9% to 17%), online account access (75% to 80%), email newsletter (18% to 27%), AddThis/ShareThis interface (18% to 24%), chat reference (59% to 67%), and text reference (1% to 4%).
  • Technologies that decreased included blogs (21% to 15%) and email reference (25% to 22%).
  • However, these trends varied depending on the library’s LSA population. The smallest libraries increased their adoption of many of the web technologies, with the exceptions of blogs (12% to 5%), AddThis/ShareThis interface (15% to 11%), and email reference (13% to 5%). The largest libraries decreased their use of online account access (100% to 92%), non-blog RSS feeds (67% to 58%), and chat reference (100% to 75%), while showing the biggest gains in online library card sign up (33% to 67%),  AddThis/ShareThis interface (33% to 75%), and text reference (0% to 25%).

A little more than half (53%) of Colorado public libraries had social media accounts:

  • Almost all (92%) of the largest libraries, close to three-fourths (71%) of libraries serving between 25,000 and 99,999, more than half (57%) of those serving 10,000 to 24,999, and 40 percent of the smallest libraries had at least one social media account.
  • Of the 9 social networks that were analyzed, libraries were most likely to be on Facebook (51%). From 2010 to 2012, libraries serving 25,000-99,999 had the biggest jump in adoption of this social network, from 36 percent to 71 percent.
  • About 1 in 5 (21%) Colorado public libraries were on Twitter and 1 in 10 were on YouTube or Flickr. However, Flickr decreased in all population groups; for example, 36 percent of libraries serving 25,000-99,999 used this social network in 2010 versus 14 percent in 2012.
  • One-fourth of the largest libraries were on Pinterest, 17 percent each were on Foursquare and Vimeo, and 8 percent were on Tumblr.
  • The largest libraries were on an average of 3.50 social networks out of the 9 included in the analysis, whereas the smallest libraries averaged less than 1.

Since 2010, the number of Colorado libraries that catered to mobile devices has increased dramatically, from 3 percent to 36 percent:

  • More than 9 in 10 (92%) of the largest libraries, 71 percent of libraries serving between 25,000 and 99,999, nearly half (48%) of libraries serving between 10,000 and 24,999, and 15 percent of the smallest libraries offered some type of mobile-friendly website access.

In terms of the specific type of mobile access,

  • About one-fourth (26%) of Colorado public libraries offered mobile applications (apps);
  • 1 in 5 libraries had mobile versions of their sites (i.e., the URL redirects to a mobile version of the website when viewed on a mobile device); however,
  • just 3 libraries used responsive design.

Related information:

 

Trends in U.S. Public Library Websites and Social Media Use

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In 2008, the Library Research Service launched the biennial study, U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, with the intent to document the use of various web technologies on the websites of public libraries throughout the nation. From its inception, it was conceived as a longitudinal study, with plans to revisit the sample libraries every two years to track changes in libraries’ uses of web technologies. The study is conducted as a content analysis: researchers analyze a random sample, stratified based on legal service area (LSA) population, of public library websites throughout the United States (584 in 2012), as well as the websites of all public libraries in Colorado (114—9 of which are in the national sample). The results of the 2008 study set a baseline for the adoption of web technologies nationwide. The study was repeated in 2010 and 2012, and these iterations expanded upon the 2008 findings by tracking the trends in U.S. public libraries’ use of web technologies over time as well as by examining new technologies as they emerged. Highlights from the 2012 study are presented below:

In 2012, most U.S. public libraries in the sample had websites, including:

  • all of those serving LSA populations of 25,000 and more;
  • 98 percent of those with LSA populations of 10,000 to 24,999; and,
  • a little more than 4 in 5 (83%) of those serving LSA populations less than 10,000 (up from 71% in 2010).

Over time, library websites were analyzed for the presence of several web features that enable interactivity with users (for example, virtual reference, blogs, etc.). Some notable findings included:

  • Generally, the biggest increases in terms of adoption of these features occurred in the smallest libraries. This was true for online account access (45% in 2010 vs. 70% in 2012), blogs (6% vs. 10%), RSS feeds (10% vs. 20%), and catalog search boxes (14% vs. 25%).
  • In contrast, in larger libraries, many of these features either remained relatively constant or declined from 2010 to 2012. One notable exception was text reference, which increased from 13 percent to 43 percent in libraries serving more than 500,000.
  • In most libraries, regardless of size, ShareThis/AddThis features increased, email newsletters and online library card sign up held relatively constant, and chat reference dropped from 2010 to 2012.

The majority of libraries had social media accounts:

  • Almost all (93%) of the largest libraries, 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 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.

Since 2010, the number of libraries that catered to mobile devices has increased dramatically:

  • Three-fourths of the largest libraries, 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 percent of the smallest libraries offered some type of mobile-friendly website access. In contrast, in 2010, 12 percent of the largest libraries, 3 percent 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 (48%-52%) of libraries serving between 25,000 and 499,999, 1 in 5 (19%) libraries serving between 10,000 and 24,999, and 2 percent of the smallest libraries offered mobile applications (apps);
  • 2 in 5 (41%) of the largest libraries, about one-fourth (23-25%) of libraries serving between 25,000 and 499,999, 1 in 5 libraries serving between 10,000 and 24,000, and 14 percent of the smallest libraries had mobile versions of their sites (i.e., the URL redirected to a mobile version of the website when viewed on a mobile device); however,
  • just 9 libraries used responsive design.

Related information:

 

 

Early Literacy Information on Colorado Public Library Websites

Public libraries have the opportunity to play a central role in educating parents on the benefits of developing children’s early literacy skills.1 With more people accessing information through public library websites, a study was conducted in Spring 2012 to determine the availability of early literacy information on the websites of Colorado’s public libraries.2

Early literacy is “what children know about reading and writing before they actually read and write.”3

Because libraries use literacy-based storytimes to engage both parents and children, and because reading aloud is an essential building block for developing early literacy skills, this study investigated what types of information about early literacy, storytimes, and reading aloud were available on Colorado public library websites.4

This Fast Facts reports highlights from the study, which found that most websites broadly referenced early literacy information and contained storytime information. However, a lower percentage had a specific definition of the term “early literacy,” referenced early literacy skills, or had information on the importance of reading aloud.

Early Literacy Information
More than 4 in 5 libraries (86%) had a broad reference to early literacy (e.g., description of, links to resources, etc.) somewhere on their website (see Chart 1). Eighty-five percent featured programs including storytimes, summer reading, and/or other early literacy initiatives. More than half of libraries (53%) had links to media (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.) or media lists for children ages 0 to 5, such as the Notable Children’s Books List by the American Library Association (ALA) or lists developed by the library itself. Almost 2 in 5 libraries (39%) linked to websites such as Great Websites for Kids by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and children’s e-book sites (e.g., Tumblebooks, StoryHour, etc.). Only about 1 in 7 referenced early literacy research on their website (15%), and/or provided early literacy brochures, tips, or guides (14%). Less than 5 percent had information on early literacy training or workshops.

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In addition to the general types of early literacy information discussed above, the websites were also analyzed for specific content about early literacy, including:

  • Discussion of long-term benefits: A small percentage of library websites contained specific information on the long-term positive effects of building early literacy skills. Just about 1 in 10 libraries (12%) linked early literacy skills to improved school readiness. Other benefits of building early literacy skills, such as contributing to healthy early brain development and later success in life, were mentioned even less frequently.
  • Definition of “early literacy” and description of early literacy skills: Only 7 percent of libraries had a brief definition of the term “early literacy,” while 15 percent had a description of early literacy skills on their websites.
  • Information on the importance of reading aloud: Fifteen percent of libraries had information on the importance of reading aloud to children as a way to build early literacy skills. Just 8 percent highlighted the importance of reading aloud to babies beginning from birth and/or reading aloud every day.

Information on Storytimes on Library Websites
Of the 104 libraries that offered storytimes in 2011,5 98 had websites. Of these 98, 85 percent posted their storytime schedule or calendar on their websites (see Chart 2). Nearly half of these libraries (46%) offered all-inclusive family storytimes for all age groups, and a similar percentage (44%) offered separate storytimes for different age groups, e.g. baby, toddler, and preschool. Some libraries offered both. Almost 1 in 3 libraries (29%) offered storytimes for babies beginning from birth. About 1 in 6 libraries offered storytimes with a certified animal (17%) and/or in Spanish or bilingual English and Spanish (16%), and 15 percent offered themed storytimes (e.g., pajama). Just 1 in 20 libraries (5%) offered storytimes in languages other than Spanish, including American Sign Language, Russian, and French. Less than 5 percent linked to a video example of storytime (4%),6 or contained “other” storytime information (e.g., outreach storytimes, etc.) (3%).

Almost 1 in 3 Colorado public libraries (29%) offer storytimes specifically for babies beginning from birth, based on schedule information available on their websites.

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Early Literacy Information in Languages Other Than English
One in 6 libraries (17%) provided early literacy information on their websites in Spanish. In contrast, just 1 in 16 libraries (6%) provided early literacy information in other languages besides Spanish on their websites. Examples of information resources included links to ¡Colorín Colorado! and the International Children’s Digital Library, early literacy handouts in Spanish, and a button on the homepage to translate the website into another language.

Link to StoryBlocks Videos
In 2008, Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) launched www.clel.org to bring together information about library early literacy programs and services in Colorado and to provide tools and resources for library staff. In 2009, CLEL developed StoryBlocks in partnership with Rocky Mountain PBS. StoryBlocks is a collection of 30- to 60-second videos designed to model songs, rhymes, and fingerplays in both English and Spanish to parents, caregivers, and library staff. Each video clip includes helpful early literacy tips to increase caregivers’ understanding of child development and pre-literacy needs. Close to 1 in 5 libraries (18%) provided a link to StoryBlocks videos on their websites.

Conclusion
Results of this study indicate that Colorado’s public libraries have the possibility of promoting substantially more early literacy information on their websites. There is a real opportunity for Colorado’s public libraries to more fully use their websites to demonstrate the library’s critical role in educating parents, caregivers, and early childhood educators on the benefits of developing children’s early literacy skills.

The Colorado State Library has an online early literacy resource guide with a selection of recommended best practices that libraries can copy and paste onto their own websites that includes:

  • A definition of the term “early literacy”
  • Descriptions of the Every Child Ready to Read @ your Library® (ECCR) early literacy skills and activities7
  • Research-based information about the long-term effects and benefits of building early literacy skills
  • Information about the importance of reading aloud everyday to both children and babies beginning from birth
  • Links to StoryBlocks videos of songs and rhymes in both English and Spanish
Copy and paste early literacy resources onto your library’s website from the Colorado State Library’s Online Early Literacy Resource Guide: http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdelib/LibraryDevelopment/YouthServices/downloads/pdf/EarlyLiteracyOnlineResourceGuide.pdf

Colorado School Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2011-2012

For the 2011-2012 school year, the annual Colorado School Library Survey included a new section to assess the degree to which school libraries use technology to communicate with students and assist them in accessing library resources. A total of 442 endorsed school librarians8 participated in the survey. Their responses show how prevalent various web technologies are in school libraries staffed by an endorsed librarian, as well as which types of schools are more likely to adopt these technologies.

While almost all Colorado public school libraries staffed by CDE-endorsed librarians have OPACs (99%) and 9 in 10 have websites (93%), fewer than 1 in 10 have Facebook and Twitter(8%).

Use of Web Technologies – All Schools
Of those Colorado public school libraries with endorsed librarians who completed the survey, almost all (99%) have online public access catalogs (OPACs), 93 percent have links from their schools’ homepages to their libraries’ websites/resources, and 92 percent have wireless Internet access available for students (Chart 1). Also, nine in ten (90%) of these libraries have websites. Collaborative software, such as Sharepoint, is used by almost one-half (47%) of school libraries with endorsed librarians. However, just over 1 in 4 of these libraries have blogs (27%), 1 in 5 have wikis (21%), and fewer than 1 in 10 have Facebook pages (8%) and Twitter accounts (8%). Clearly, school libraries are selective in this area, bypassing social media tools—or at least those asked about in this survey—in favor of other types of online presence.9

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Use of Web Technologies by Grade Level
With the exception of libraries at combined schools (i.e., schools that combine multiple grade levels, such as K-8, within a single facility), Colorado public school libraries are on the same playing field in their use of basic web technologies. Approximately 9 out of 10 high school, middle school, and elementary school libraries with endorsed librarians have OPACs, websites, links from their schools’ homepages to their libraries’ websites/resources, and wireless internet access for students (Chart 2). However, middle school libraries outpace all other school library types in their use of Web 2.0 technologies. More than one-half (57%) of middle school libraries use collaborative software, two-fifths use blogs (42%), almost one-fourth (23%) use wikis, and slightly more than 1 in 10 have Facebook pages (14%) and Twitter accounts (12%). Libraries at combined schools are the least likely to have 5 of the 9 web technologies discussed here: OPACs (98%), links from their schools’ homepages (83%), websites (78%), collaborative software (38%), and Facebook (4%).

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*Library website/resources linked from school homepage

Use of Web Technologies by Enrollment
Use of web technologies by Colorado public school libraries with endorsed librarians also varies according to enrollment (Chart 3). Libraries serving schools with enrollments of 1,000 or more (large schools) are most likely to have all of the web technologies except for blogs, wikis, and Twitter. Libraries that serve schools with enrollments between 500 and 999 are most likely to have blogs and wikis, but are either equivalent to or fall behind the large schools in regard to the other technologies. Meanwhile, school libraries serving schools with enrollments of fewer than 500 students (small schools) are least likely to have all of the web technologies except for links from their schools’ homepages, wifi, and wikis.

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*Library website/resources linked from school homepage

Conclusion
Maintaining an online presence certainly offers advantages to school libraries, especially in situations when personal interaction is not feasible. Becky Russell, School Library Content Specialist at the Colorado State Library, remarks, “By using and providing leadership in technology, school librarians can help their students and staffs become more digitally literate and provide access to library resources 24/7. In addition, school librarians’ use of interactive web technologies can offer collaborative opportunities and feedback that will help them improve their chances of providing outstanding and essential customer service.” Though few can deny the benefits of maintaining an online presence, not all school libraries can afford to commit to this endeavor, especially when funding—and therefore staff—is stretched thin. During the coming years, it will be important to track web technology adoption trends over time, to determine whether more school libraries are able to overcome budgetary and other obstacles to take advantage of virtual tools and the learning and communication opportunities they afford.

Participant Satisfaction With Computer Training Classes in Colorado’s Public Computer Centers

In September 2010, the Colorado State Library (CSL) secured a $3.3 million Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant including $2.3 million in federal funds, $754,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and $316,234 in matching and in-kind donations from local libraries, CSL, and community organizations. This grant funded 50 grantees to build or enhance Public Computer Centers (PCCs) in 88 high-need urban and rural communities with high poverty rates, ethnic diversity, low broadband penetration, and/or limited access to public computers.

“I needed to refresh my skills on Excel before I took a test for a promotion…[The instructor] showed me how to do charts and graphs and helped me with keyboard shortcuts.” -BTOP Class Participant

One of the key activities of the CSL BTOP grant is for PCCs to offer computer training classes to the public. Class topics include basic internet and computer use (email, internet searching, social networking), office skills (Microsoft Office, presentations), job seeking (resume basics, job search strategies), multimedia (photo editing, website design), and mobile computing (e-books, mobile devices).

A total of 57 PCCs offered 1,364 classes to 8,625 participants between March and December 2011. Of these PCCs, 26 (46%) administered a survey in their classes to receive feedback from participants. Between May and December 2011, 101,755 participants completed the survey, which contained questions about the class, as well as about participants’ previous experience with computers.

This Fast Facts, which is the second in a three-part series about the CSL BTOP project’s first year, highlights the results from these surveys.11

“I have used Craigslist before, but only to browse for buying or renting. Now I feel confident to create postings. I want to sell things and advertise tutoring and gardening services. Thanks for offering this class.” – BTOP Class Participant

Participant Satisfaction
More than 9 in 10 respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the instructor presented the information clearly, that they learned a valuable skill in the class, and that they would be able to use what they learned (see Chart 1).12Overall, respondents expressed satisfaction with the classes, with more than 95% strongly agreeing or agreeing that they would recommend the class to someone else.

Chart 1
PCC Class Participant Feedback

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Class Level of Difficulty
Regarding the level of difficulty, 9 in 10 respondents (89%) indicated that their class was “just about right” (see Chart 2). The remaining 11% found their class to be either “too easy” or “too hard.”

 Chart 2
Class Level of Difficulty

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Participant Level of Computer Experience
Prior to the class, close to two-thirds (61%) of the participants determined their level of computer experience to be either first timer or beginner (see Chart 3). The remaining 39% identified their level as either intermediate or advanced.

 Chart 3
Level of Experience with Computers Prior to Class

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Class Difficulty by Level of Computer Experience
Most of the respondents who found their class to be too hard (83%) identified themselves as first timers or beginners (see Chart 4). Consistent with this data is that 6 in 10 respondents (62%) who rated the class as too easy possessed an intermediate or advanced level of experience with computers.

Chart 4
Class Difficulty by Level of Computer Experience

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Learning about the Class
Results from the survey showed that 7 out of 10 respondents learned about the class from the library (staff, website, email, flyer) (see Chart 5). The remaining 30% learned about the class from a family member or friend, the community (banner, yard sign, flyer), newspaper, radio, or “other” sources (Workforce center, Denver Green Jobs, iCast, etc.).

“I’ve recommended these classes to my family and friends. Thank you for offering these classes.”
-BTOP Class Participant

 Chart 5
How Respondents Learned About the Class

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Conclusion
The PCC class participant survey data demonstrates that Colorado libraries and PCCs are providing computer training classes where patrons are learning new technology skills that they value. Having free and reliable broadband internet access at PCCs empowers patrons across Colorado to use their newly learned skills to improve and enrich their own lives. As one participant shared, the class is “excellent in getting started—the rest is up to me.”

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