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Library Journal Survey reports median size of e-book collection in U.S. public libraries exceeds 10,000

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Image credit: Library Journal

In their fifth annual study of e-book usage in U.S. public libraries, Library Journal found that while e-book demand is still on the rise, there has been a significant waning in its intensity, based on the responses from the 538 libraries that participated in their survey. LJ suggests that a strong possibility for this apparent tapering off of enthusiasm is the fact that nearly all (95%) of public libraries now offer e-books, so their widespread adoption may mean that they have successfully integrated into mainstream reading practices. The rise of tablets seems to have helped, as tablets have edged out dedicated e-book readers as the most popular devices on which to access e-books.

The little resistance to e-books that does remain is due to a lack of funding for e-book collections and concern over the ease of use, according to LJ.   However, a limited collection is no longer a major factor inhibiting e-book usage. U.S. public libraries spent nearly $113 million on e-books in the 2014 fiscal year (on average 7% of each library’s budget), and the median size of e-book collections now exceeds 10,000. Respondents indicated that adult titles account for more than two-thirds of e-book collections, so there is still plenty of room to grow in children’s and young adult titles.

What is next for the future of e-book usage in U.S. public libraries, then? Based on survey responses, LJ predicts that e-books will continue to see increased demand and steady rather than drastic circulation growth. Small and medium sized libraries are still working to catch up to their larger counterparts in terms of e-book offerings, but e-reader lending remains the most popular among this population group. None of the numbers provided by the survey seemed to indicate that e-books were a threat to traditional print. Instead, LJ suggests that e-books are increasingly seen as a complement to other formats. In other words, they are simply becoming more firmly entrenched among the variety of formats that we may interact with on a day to day basis.

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.

Congratulations to the 10 Colorado Star Libraries!

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Image credit: Library Journal

Congratulations to the 10 Colorado libraries that were named Star Libraries by the 2014 Library Journal Index of Public Library Service! Out of all the states included in the report, Colorado was one of only 9 where 10 or more libraries were named Star Libraries. The 10 star libraries are:

  • Arapahoe
  • Denver
  • Douglas County
  • La Junta
  • LaVeta
  • Limon
  • Ordway
  • Ridgway
  • San Miguel/Telluride
  • Swink

Star Libraries are determined based on output data, which is one of three major types of data that libraries can collect (the other types are inputs and outcomes). Output measures used to calculate the Star Libraries Index are circulation, visits, program attendance, and internet use. These measurements are valuable in determining the volume of various services that a library produces. It is possible that new outputs will be included in the Star Libraries index soon: In 2015, public libraries will begin reporting e-circulation as part of the annual Public Library Survey, and in 2016, data about Wi-Fi access usage.

While output data is required for libraries to collect and provides worthwhile information about how much of a variety of services is being provided, an entirely different, voluntary type of data called outcomes is essential in gaining a better picture of the long-range effectiveness of public library services. Outcome data, as opposed to output data, measures the impact of changes experienced by users as a result of library services, rather than just the sheer number of services produced by the library. Outcomes measure impacts such as knowledge gained or developments in overall attitude, status, or condition. While outcomes can be difficult to quantify because the data largely relies on self-reported surveys from library patrons, outcomes are important because they help to more accurately gauge the library’s economic, social, and cultural import to individuals and the community as a whole. Want to know more about outcomes? This year’s Star Libraries article contains a nice overview on outcomes and how they differ from outputs.

If you want to learn more about how to design compelling evaluations that can demonstrate the value of your library in the community, consider attending the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) on July 27-30, 2015 in Colorado Springs to learn how effective input, output, and outcome data can do just that.

If you work in a Colorado public library or are a Colorado-based MLIS student interested in working in a public library, the Colorado State Library is offering up to 15 full scholarships to RIPL! Find more information and apply here. Hurry! Scholarship applications are due by 5 PM on Friday, November 14, 2014. Otherwise, enrollment opens on January 5, 2015.

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.

ALA report on the impact of CIPA finds that software filtering negatively impacts disadvantaged students

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Banned Books Week and Banned Websites Awareness Day only come around once a year, but for students, learning is affected all year long by the content they are able or not able to access. A report by ALA, Fencing Out Knowledge: Impact of CIPA 10 Years Later, seeks to understand the long-term impact of the law requiring filtering software on school computers, and some of its unintended consequences as revealed through existing research and ALA’s own interviews and symposium.

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was passed in 2000 with the intention of blocking obscene and pornographic images from school computers. So why does ALA consider it a problem? While there is good reason to prevent children from viewing certain content, ALA argues that much of this filtering is not very effective and needs to be revised.

In fact, software filters are reportedly so unreliable that they over-block useful content or under-block obscene content 15-20% of the time. But the main takeaway from ALA’s report is that CIPA disproportionately impacts already disadvantaged students, giving those who get unfiltered access at home an advantage over those who only have filtered access at school. In a Pew study of AP and National Writing Project teachers, nearly half (48%) of the respondents in urban areas and/or teaching low-income students responded that filtering had a major impact on the effectiveness of student learning. And while much of the filtered content (as shown in the above graph) appears to be entertainment, the fact is that for young people, online platforms such as games, videos, and social networks are a becoming a major component of learning and the establishment of early digital literacy.

ALA argues that school librarians have the ability to promote and teach the ethical and safe use of information technologies, and urges that schools should make better use of them to train teachers to assess the quality of online sources and to collect valuable resources for student use. CIPA is likely here to stay, but school librarians are well positioned to mitigate any negative effects it may have on student learning.

ALA also looked at the effects of CIPA on public libraries. Check out the full report here.

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 Scholarship Opportunity

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Are you interested in learning how to use data for decision making, strategic planning, and demonstrating the impact of your library? Do you work in a Colorado public library, or are you a current MLIS student interested in working in a public library? Then we hope you will consider applying for a scholarship for next summer’s Research Institute for Public Libraries:

The Colorado State Library is offering up to 15 full scholarships to the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) in July 2015. This national event, hosted by the Colorado State Library and CLiC, will offer three days of hands-on, intensive workshops about:

  • Evaluation design and implementation
  • Data collection and use for strategic planning
  • Measures for reporting library impact
  • Tips for aligning research efforts with national initiatives such as Edge Benchmarks and the Impact Survey

The ideal candidate for this scholarship is:

  • 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 his/her organization in making data-based decisions.
  • Eager to develop a peer network to support research and evaluation efforts.

To be eligible for a scholarship, you must be:

a) employed by a public library in Colorado OR
b) a Colorado resident either enrolled in a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) program or a 2015 MLIS graduate at the time of the institute (this opportunity is most appropriate for students intending to work in public libraries)

Special consideration will be given to applicants working in small or rural libraries and/or those working with underserved populations. However, staff working in any Colorado public library and/or Colorado residents enrolled in an MLIS program are encouraged to apply for scholarships.

For more information and to apply, please see http://www.lrs.org/research-institute-public-libraries-colorado-scholarship-information/. Scholarship applications are due by 5 PM on Friday, November 14, 2014.

LIS starting salaries are up almost 3% for new graduates according to Library Journal survey

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Image credit: Library Journal

As part of our periodic look at Library Journal’s Placements &Salaries Survey, we found good news rolling out overall for 2013 graduates. The 2014 survey looked at just over 2,000 of last year’s LIS graduates in order to assess changes in job description, salary, and geographic distribution across the profession. The general trend appears to be for positive growth – average starting salaries are up 2.6% across the board compared to 2013, and average starting salaries have risen above $45,000. The graduates also reported a slightly shorter job search, at an average of 4.2 months.

One component driving this improvement was an expansion of responsibilities across the digital sector of the field. Librarians are increasingly taking on responsibilities such as managing social media, digital asset/content, and digital projects. Out of all of the positions reported, those whose applicants garnered the highest starting salaries were data analytics, emerging technologies, knowledge management, and user experience/user interface design, all positions that offered an average starting salary over $55,000. Graduates entering into user experience/ user interface design positions started with salaries a staggering 53% higher than the average LIS graduate, at $70,026.

But here is the catch. Many of these digital positions still only account for a small portion of the total positions being filled by new graduates. For example, digital content management jobs were only a fraction (3%) of the total placements, and while they had a significant concentration in Western states and salaries were slightly higher than average, the overall starting salary for this position actually decreased somewhat from 2013 (by 5%). So what does all of this mean? Positions with substantial digital components are becoming more common, especially in private industry, archives, and public libraries, but this growth is not necessarily consistent across library type and geographical area. In the coming years, we will certainly have to keep an eye on this trend towards the digital LIS professional, as well as how positions and wages compare to those across the field.

Want to see how your library position or region is faring? You can access the full data from the survey here.

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.

Survey of US public librarians finds that almost half think there is an increased demand for language learning materials

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Image credit: Library Journal

We have all likely felt the pressure, at one time or another, to grow more competent in a foreign language. Now, public librarians across the country are feeling the pressure to provide more diverse and accessible language learning products and services. Library Journal recently conducted a survey of public librarians from 337 libraries across the United States on language learning programs. Not surprisingly, the consensus across the board is that demand for language learning services has at least remained steady (47%), and has likely risen (47%), in recent years.

So what is prompting patrons to seek out language instruction? While travel still hangs on as the biggest reason for a patron to pursue foreign language learning, over half of the librarians surveyed responded that communicating with neighbors and community members (58% of librarians), and furthering business prospects (54% of librarians), were primary reasons. In an increasingly diversifying country, there is a heightened perception that learning a second language is no longer a luxury. Spanish and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) are the most frequently demanded languages, yet only 61% of librarians thought their ESOL programs were satisfactory.

Additionally, patrons want more than ever to be able to do their language lessons on the move. Almost all of the librarians surveyed (90%) noted ease of access as the most important characteristic of language resources, and mobile apps are on the rise. The downside of this trend is that many of the librarians surveyed expressed frustration at the limited means to promote online language software. Patrons are often unaware of services beyond books or audio.

It appears that for the foreseeable future, all kinds of language learning resources but especially online and mobile platforms will see steady if not escalating demand, and librarians will have to determine how to best inform and educate patrons about available resources.

The article by Library Journal also provides a list of offerings for libraries interested in bringing language learning software into their library.

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 – Scholarship Opportunity for Coloradans

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The Colorado State Library is offering up to 15 full scholarships to the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) in July 2015. This national event, hosted by the Colorado State Library and CLiC, will offer three days of hands-on, intensive workshops about:

  • Evaluation design and implementation
  • Data collection and use for strategic planning
  • Measures for reporting library impact
  • Tips for aligning research efforts with national initiatives such as Edge Benchmarks and the Impact Survey

The ideal candidate for this scholarship is:

  • 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 his/her organization in making data-based decisions.
  • Eager to develop a peer network to support research and evaluation efforts.

To be eligible for a scholarship, you must be:

a) employed by a public library in Colorado OR
b) a Colorado resident either enrolled in a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) program or a 2015 MLIS graduate at the time of the institute (this opportunity is most appropriate for students intending to work in public libraries)

Special consideration will be given to applicants working in small or rural libraries and/or those working with underserved populations. However, staff working in any Colorado public library and/or Colorado residents enrolled in an MLIS program are encouraged to apply for scholarships.

For more information and to apply, please see http://www.lrs.org/research-institute-public-libraries-colorado-scholarship-information/. Scholarship applications are due by 5 PM on Friday, November 14, 2014.

Join us at CAL to learn how to create a data-based elevator speech

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Will you be attending CAL this week? If so, we hope you will join us for our session, “If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! Make the Case for Your Library with a Data-Based Elevator Speech.” Here are the details:

If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It! Make the Case for Your Library with a Data-Based Elevator Speech
Linda Hofschire & Meghan Wanucha
Friday, October 17, 3:00-4:45
River Birch A

Circulation, program attendance, website visits…these are just a few of the statistics you are already gathering at your library. But how do you take these data and turn them into effective advocacy? In this interactive session, learn how to develop an elevator speech about your library, use statistics and stories to add value, and tailor the message to various stakeholders. You will have the opportunity to draft an elevator speech and share it with others if desired. You are encouraged to bring any statistics you collect about your library for use in drafting your speech.

Public library websites and social media: What’s #trending now?

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We’re excited to have an article in the October 2014 issue of Computers in Libraries, Public Library Websites and Social Media: What’s #Trending Now?, that shares the results from our biennial study of public library website features and social media use. In this study, we analyze the websites of nearly 600 US public libraries to determine what website features and social media networks they are using to promote interactivity with patrons. The article focuses on our most recent (2012) findings, with a look back at our earlier studies to examine trends over time. In addition, it shares highlights from interviews we conducted with social media directors at several public libraries from our sample that we identified as highly active social media users based on their number of Facebook and/or Twitter followers relative to their populations served, as well as how frequent and recent their postings were. We talked with them about their social networking strategies, best practices, and lessons learned.

Want to know more? We’ve compiled all of our publications related to this study–infographics, Fast Facts, Closer Look reports, and more–on our U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies webpage.

State grants doubled the collection budgets of 41 library recipients in 2013-14

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We recently told you about the State Grants to Libraries Act (CRS 24-90-401) that offered $2 million to Colorado’s libraries and how many libraries were able to purchase materials thanks to the funds. We’ve now received preliminary data for the 2013-14 grant cycle highlighting just how those grants were used, and the impact is clear: State funding played a major role in building collections for libraries across the state.

More than 9 in 10 library recipients used the funds to purchase print books, totaling nearly 140,000 books added to library collections. Nearly 40% of recipients bought about 10,000 e-books. And more than half of library grant recipients purchased access to electronic databases for their patrons.

And it’s not just about the data: Libraries shared great stories showcasing the impact the state funding has had on their library and patrons. Here are a couple of our favorites:

  • It was a new book extravaganza! We were able to weed many aged and ragamuffin books. We refreshed our collection and it reignited our love for reading!
  • We are a 1:1 technology district, and this allowed us to expand our digital resources. It is helping us transform the way students think and learn.
  • We saw circulation rise by 13-29% at two branches because we can offer more targeted resources customers want and need.

Want to see more highlights and quotes from the 2013-14 grant cycle? Check out our new Fast Facts.

Final numbers for the 2013-14 grants will be available later this fall. And the cycle for 2014-15 is well underway with the $2 million appropriation renewed by the 2014 Colorado Legislature and funds scheduled for disbursement this fall. We’re looking forward to seeing how libraries use this year’s awards!

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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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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