News

160 billion words read in one year via Scribd’s ebook subscription service

Scribd

Image credit: Scribd

The book subscription service Scribd recently released some brief stats about its service usage as it nears its one year anniversary. While the results are limited to Scribd’s service alone, it captures a snapshot of reading behavior and choices of its readers over the past year. Romance, Mind, Body, & Spirit, and Business were the top book genres begun by readers; the top finished genres were Romance, Fiction, and Kids & YA. The top book was Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, and the most highlighted sentence was from that work as well.

For us, the most interesting aspect of this report is the infographic. It’s a nice example of using data effectively to talk about usage and services—and even staffing—without simply rattling off large numbers. For example, all the books in Scribd’s Library stacked up would surpass the top of Mt. Everest—a bit more powerful way to talk about a collection than quoting an overall number of books. This basic idea is behind our own Quotable Facts: making data and numbers more approachable for anyone.

Looking to use numbers to tell an impactful story about your library? Want to turn your annual report into an effective marketing tool? Join us at our CAL session next month, If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! Tell Your Library’s Story with a Data-Based Elevator Speech, on Friday, October 17 from 3-4:45pm. At this interactive and discussion-rich session, you’ll get the inside scoop on how to talk up your library’s numbers to potential stakeholders, use stats and stories to show value, and develop a powerful elevator speech.

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.

Colorado’s public libraries report 29 challenges in 2013

2013 PLAR challenges

Each year, LRS reviews the Public Library Annual Report for information specifically about challenges: How many items were challenged, reasons for the challenges, and what happened as a result of the challenges. In our newest Fast Facts, we take a deeper look into the results as a snapshot of intellectual freedom issues in Colorado for 2013.

What’s the verdict? After a peak of 87 in 2004, overall numbers of challenges have gradually decreased, reaching a 10-year low of just 29 challenges in 2013. As for the challenges themselves, most attributes have held fairly steady over time. For the past 5 years, the most common action taken after a challenge is filed is no action at all—items aren’t moved or reclassified, simply left as is—presumably after library staff provide additional information on collection development policies. Top reasons for challenges have typically included “sexually explicit,” “unsuited to age group,” and “violence.” Books continue to be the most common format of challenged items, while video has consistently held second place for the past 5 years.

However, one shift in the nature of public library challenges is the intended audience of the challenged materials—adults, young adults, or children. Adults have consistently held the No. 1 spot as the intended audience for challenged materials, but No. 2 has gradually shifted from children to young adult. In fact, in 2013 young adults were the intended audience of 29% of challenges with a specified audience—up nearly 180% from 2012.

Check out other trends from 2013’s public library trends in the full Fast Facts report. Did your library have any challenges last year?

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.

Research Institute for Public Libraries – Summer 2015

ripl

Are you…

… a public librarian, administrator, or other staff interested in getting started using data for savvy and strategic planning?

… looking for both inspiration and instruction in a hands-on, participatory environment?

… seeking to learn about outcomes and how to measure library impact?

… committed to leading your organization in making data-based decisions?

…eager to develop a peer network  to support your research and evaluation efforts?

The Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) will bring together people from across the country (rural, suburban, and urban public libraries) in a sequestered environment in Colorado Springs, Colorado for intensive, experiential learning. From July 27-30, 2015, participants will learn in hands-on workshops topics such as:

  • designing outcome-based evaluation of programs and services
  • assessing the needs of your community
  • techniques for tracking public library data and using these data for planning, management, and proving worth to your community
  • using data and stories to demonstrate library impact
  • aligning research efforts with national initiatives such as Edge Benchmarks and the Impact Survey

 Mark your calendar!

 Enrollment opens January 5, 2015 –and only 75 participants will take part in this immersive learning experience.

If your organization would like to be a sponsor, please see http://ripl.lrs.org/docs/RIPL_Sponsorship_Levels.pdf

Want to connect with others who are interested in public library research and evaluation? Join PL-EVAL, a new listserv where you can ask questions, share ideas, and learn from experiences across the field.

 This event is hosted by the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Library Consortium. Questions? Please contact ripl.publib@gmail.com

 

Makerspaces in Libraries

maker

Image credit: Anythink Libraries

This week, we’re taking a break from the Weekly Number to highlight our other blog series, “Beyond Books.”

In our last Beyond Books post, we mentioned Denver Public Library’s ideaLAB, a space for teens to make and play with all things digital media. A small survey released last year shows makerspaces are becoming a solid programming choice for libraries, with 41% of respondents currently offering maker activities and 36% planning to start in the near future. Here are just a few that have caught our eye recently:

  • The Studio – Anythink Wright Farms, Colorado
  • Bad art – alt+library by the Sacramento Public Library, California
  • Hand-Made – programs inspired by crafty items in library’s collection, New York Public Library, New York
  • The Bubbler – programs on making/crafting/writing, etc., Madison Public Library, Wisconsin
  • MACH, a space for makers, artists, crafters, and hackers – Phoenix Public Library, Arizona

Want to get into making at your library? Check out the State Library’s resources on Library Creation & Learning Centers here: http://create.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/. And share your favorite makerspaces with us on Twitter!

Note: This post is part of our “Beyond Books” series. From time to time, we’ll be sharing examples of unique lending programs, events, and outreach that libraries are offering.

1998: Average copyright date of technology books (600s section in Dewey Decimal System) in Colorado’s public school libraries

dewey

These days, it is not uncommon for children to be adept at using the Internet, cellular phones, and/or digital cameras. They might be hard-pressed, however, to find literature in their school libraries that adequately discusses the modern-day use and significance of these technological advancements. Based on results from the 2013-14 Colorado School Library Survey, the average copyright for books that fall in the 600 range (technology) of the Dewey Decimal System in Colorado public school libraries is 1998—when the Internet was a relatively new concept in most households, cellular phones were a luxury item enjoyed by only a select few, and drug stores were still developing camera film for their customers on a regular basis.

Are you a school librarian who needs funding to update your collection? The Colorado State Library website contains information about a variety of grant opportunities, for example, State Grants to Libraries and the Funding Opportunities webpage.

 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.

96% of Colorado public libraries offer general computer skills training

Digital Inclusion

Image credit: Digital Inclusion Survey

Full results from the new Digital Inclusion Survey are now available! We shared some features of this public library study a couple of months ago, but since then the entire set of 2013 results have been added to the interactive tools, reports, and state details. Even better: A two-page talking points handout outlines key highlights from the study and offers easy advocacy messaging you can use right away.

The state details neatly organize results for each state and compare them to the national picture. For Colorado, here are a few areas where the state is ahead of the U.S.:

  • Mean number of public computers/laptops: 26.2 in Colorado, 19.8 nationwide
  • Mobile apps: 55% of Colorado public libraries, 43% nationally
  • Offer general computer skills training: 96% of Colorado libraries, 91% nationwide
  • Offer programs on applying for a job: 80% of Colorado libraries, 74% nationally
  • Offer programs on online business information resources: 66% of Colorado libraries, 56% nationally
  • Host creation events like maker spaces: 26% of Colorado libraries, 21% nationwide

You can find the entire Colorado breakdown here. And be sure to check out the executive summary and full report for an in-depth look at the national results, including locale breakdowns (rural, town, suburb, etc.) and emerging trends (maker events, 3D printers, etc.).

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.

90% of Colorado libraries received state funds in 2013-14

State grants 2013-14

In 2013, the Colorado State Legislature granted $2 million for libraries to support or enhance early literacy and early learning educational materials. For 2014-15, this funding was renewed and the application period is open now! In the meantime, we’re taking a look back to highlight how 2013-14 went.

Through a non-competitive grant process, each eligible library received $3,000 plus remaining funds designated on a per capita basis. You can find a breakdown of the 2013-14 awards here. For 41 libraries, the grant more than doubled their collection budgets. Nine in 10 Colorado libraries received funding: 88% of all academic libraries, 94% of all public libraries, and 91% of all school and youth correctional libraries. Don’t miss the infographic that breaks down awards by county and highlights stories from grant recipients.

Here are just a few quotes from libraries about how they used their funds last year:

  • We used the funds from the State Library Grant to purchase children’s books to add to our collection we have in our Capulin satellite library. The children were very excited to see and read the new books. We have seen more children and parents coming and using the library since we have the new books. – Conejos County Library District
  • The grant is being used to partially fund Pebble Go for our elementary schools. Schools use the data base to access informational text for all levels of reader. Being able to access informational text that is appropriate for our younger readers and is important in supporting Colorado Academic Standards. – Mesa County Valley 51
  • We are one of the busiest academic libraries in the state. During the spring, summer, and fall semesters, our library is packed with students studying, researching, and preparing for their classes. This grant helped us pay for one of our most important online databases EBSCOHost, which can be used by students both in the library, on campus, and remotely. – Auraria Library

New to state grants? Learn more through an introductory webinar on August 26 at 9:00am. And visit the State Grants to Libraries website for details on eligibility, purchasing recommendations, and reporting details.

Receive a grant in 2013-14? Share your stories with us on Twitter!

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.

61% of library user quiz-takers say their library’s closing would have a major impact on them

Pew_typology quiz results

Image credit: Pew Internet Project

We recently shared Pew Internet Project’s new community quiz tool for libraries to find out how engaged their users are. Now Pew has released some data about the more than 15,000 library users who’ve already used the quiz and compared them to their national library typology findings.

Of course the results aren’t really surprising: More than 6 in 10 of the quiz-takers fall into the “Library Lover” category, which was just 10% of the national study. About a quarter (26%) of quiz-takers were in the “Information Omnivore” category, a bit closer to the national picture with 20% falling into this type. These folks are the ones who really get what libraries are all about, too: 3 in 5 (61%) say the closure of their local library would have a major impact on them or their families, twice as many as the overall group (29%).

This group is also active with library services: More than 9 in 10 (94%) have a library card and about 9 in 10 visited a library in person (87%) or through the website (88%) in the past year. Nationally, 61% have a library card, about half (48%) visited a library in the past year, and just 30% used a library website in the past year.

Create your own library user quiz here. Best of all, you and your community will be able to see aggregate group results—share your findings with us on Twitter!

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.

Kids involved in summer reading program were up to two times more likely to read every day

summer_reading

Image credit: East Lansing Public Library

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), a children’s literacy nonprofit, recently released results of a summer reading survey it undertook with Macy’s. More than 1,000 parents of 5- to 11-year-olds were asked about their opinions about their child’s reading habits and summer reading. (We should also point out that this survey was “intended to gain mediagenic findings” for an RIF campaign in partnership with Macy’s.)

Parents reported their child reading more during the summer, spending an average 5.9 hours per week reading books, than during the school year, with an average 5.4 hours reading per week. In addition, the results indicated that children who participated in a reading program last summer were up to two times more likely to read every day. More than 8 in 10 (83%) parents felt it was extremely or very important that their child read during the summer. Parents who felt this way were twice as likely to say their child read a book at least 4 times a week last summer when compared to parents who felt reading was somewhat or not at all important.

At the same time, reading was not considered the most important activity for their child: Nearly half (49%) said playing outside was the most important activity they wanted their child to do this summer, while less than 1 in 5 (17%) said reading books was the most important activity.

Libraries were the major book provider for parents: A full 3 out of 4 parents said they borrowed books from the library for their child to read during the summer. More than 4 in 5 (86%) ever visited a library with their child, with 30% going to the library at least once a week last summer.

Read the full executive summary here to learn more about what children read during the summer, their preferences, and their parents’ opinions about summer reading.

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. publishers earned $27 billion in net revenue in 2013

BookStats 2013

Image credit: BookStats

The Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group recently released their 2013 update to BookStats, an annual survey covering trends and sales in book publishing. New for 2013: In the Trade category, adult non-fiction grew faster than juvenile (includes children’s and young adult), the category that had been the leader for the previous 2 years. (The Trade category includes “general consumer fiction and non-fiction.”)

Ebooks hit a record number in terms of volume sold, but revenue from ebooks was flat. Trade paperbacks were still the #1 format. E-audiobooks also had a strong year in 2013, hitting all-time peaks in sales and volume.

In sales, the book publishing industry’s revenue from online retail (of both ebooks and print) surpassed that of physical stores. While Trade revenue for 2012 was so strong—thanks to The Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey—that experts anticipated a large drop for 2013, the reality was that revenue did drop slightly in 2013 but overall numbers seem to mirror pacing set in previous years. Pulling together revenue data from all sectors—including K-12, Professional/Scholarly, Higher Education, and Trade—overall industry revenue was flat compared to 2012.

The full report is available for purchase, but you can also check out the press release and news brief to read more about how 2013 shaped up for U.S. book publishers.

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.

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