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

cal_2014

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

state grants FF

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.

Job posts on Library Jobline were viewed more than 423,000 times in 2013

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In our yearly tradition, our newest Fast Facts reviews the past year of Library Jobline, our popular library jobs posting website. We investigate the kinds of jobs that are posted, what skills are required, and how 2013 was in the larger trends of the library job market. Here’s what we found:

In 2013, 431 jobs were posted on Library Jobline. That’s up almost 90% from 2009, the bottom of the job posting curve thanks to the latest recession. But we’ve not yet recovered completely: 523 jobs were posted in 2007, the first year of the service.

Average starting wages for postings not requiring an MLIS/MLS degree have increased more than 20% since 2007, more than starting wages for postings preferring (up 16%) or requiring (up just 4%) the degree. In fact, the average starting wage for positions requiring an MLIS in 2013 was $22.25 while postings preferring the degree had an average starting wage of $22.08—a difference of just 17 cents an hour.

Another interesting trend is how MLIS degree requirements have shifted since 2007. While other skills requirements, such as library experience or language skills, haven’t shifted much since the service began—within 5 percentage points—the degree requirements have changed quite a bit. In 2007, 35% of job posts that indicated a preference said the MLIS degree was required. In 2013, that figure fell to 18%. This hasn’t been mirrored by the percentage of posts that prefer the degree: In 2007, 12% preferred a library degree; in 2013, 15% did.

Learn more about Library Jobline and last year’s job postings through our new Fast Facts, available here. In the job market yourself? Sign up as a job seeker for to receive personalized job announcements. Responsible for hiring at your library? Join the nearly 750 employers and post jobs that are consistently viewed more than 1,000 times. And get even more job announcements, tips, and strategies by following @libraryjobline.

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.

62% of Millennials agree there is a lot of important, useful information not available online

millennials&PLs

Image credit: Pew Internet Project

The Pew Research Internet & American Life Project continues its deep dive into public libraries, and recently released a comprehensive study of young Americans younger than 30 (i.e., Millennials) that examines their attitudes toward and engagement with public libraries. Fittingly for Millennials, the findings were pretty complex. Pew indicated that there are significant differences in the use and perception of public libraries among those aged 16-29, so much so that they distinguished three separate “generations” among this group.

Among the 6,224 Americans aged 16 + that Pew surveyed, one commonality among Millennials they did find was that reading is still a very important activity among the younger generation, and they remain active users of their local public libraries. In fact, Millennials are more likely to have read a book in the past year than their older counterparts (88% compared to 79%), and more likely than those older than 30 to agree that there is useful, important information not available on the internet (62% compared to 53%).

These findings all seem promising, but there are a couple of clear ways that Millennials diverge significantly from the older population. Although library use appears to be steady for the younger generation, the nature of that engagement might be shifting. While the percentage of 16-29-year-olds who visited a public library in person dropped from 2012 to 2013 (from 58% to 50%), the percentage of that same population who visited a library’s website increased by almost the same amount (from 28% to 36%). Also, while the youngest group of Millennials (ages 16-17) were the most likely to use the library on a regular basis, they were also the most likely to say that libraries were not very important to themselves, their family, or their community.

So even as libraries remain important centers for information and learning among the young, how that information is accessed and perceived seems to be in a state of transition.

You can find the full Pew 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.

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

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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

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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.

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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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