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Literacy and Libraries in Prison

The U.S. Department of Education recently released the report, Literacy Behind Bars: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey. This report summarizes the findings of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) which assessed the English literacy of incarcerated adults. The first assessment since 1992, the 2003 assessment was administered to approximately 1,200 inmates (ages 16 and older) in state and federal prisons, as well as to approximately 18,000 adults (ages 16 and older) living in households. The prison sample is representative of the 1,380,000 adults in prison and the household sample is representative of the 221,020,000 adults in households in 2003. Both the 1992 and 2003 Assessments, define literacy as: “Using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

The assessment indicates there is a direct link between literacy and participation in certain activities in prison such as reading, using computers, using the library, and being given the opportunity for certain work assignments.

Many prisons have a library that is available to inmates. However, the opportunity for a prisoner to actually use the library is influenced by a variety of factors including; the hours that the library is open, procedures that inmates must go through to request a visit to the library or delivery of books from the library, and the extent and variety of reading materials available. (According to the Directory of State Prison Librarians 2002, 826 state prisons have a librarian. This is approximately 62% of state prisons according to the most recent report on the number of state correctional facilities in the U.S.)

In general, prison inmates who use the library have higher average prose and quantitative literacy than inmates who never use the library. The report explains, “Library use can be related to literacy in two ways; adults who have higher literacy levels may be more likely to want to access the library and find things to read, and adults who use the library and read more frequently may improve their literacy levels.”

This report is available at: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007473.pdf

~ Daphne
Eastburn_D@cde.state.co.us

2007-2008 Preliminary School Library Statistics Released

The 2007-08 Preliminary School Library Statistics are now available from our school statistics page. This year, a record 819 schools responded to the survey. Take a look at the statistics and school library profiles to see how your school library stacks up.

Zeth
lietzau_z@cde.state.co.us

New Fast Facts: AskColorado Customer Satisfaction High

The results of the 2006 AskColorado Customer Satisfaction survey are examined in this fast facts. Since its inception, AskColorado has steadily increased both in number of user sessions and customer satisfaction levels. To read this fast facts go to http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/255_AskCO.pdf

Best Practices for Scanning and Minors’ Use of the Internet

Librarians working in many types of libraries may be interested in the two most recent Field Initiated Studies (FIS).

The Best Practices for Scanning FIS is a summary of responses from a Libnet inquiry regarding the best methods for scanning large volumes of library materials. Responses primarily include those from academic and special librarians.

The Minors’ Use of the Internet FIS is a summary of responses from a Libnet inquiry regarding policies for minors’ Internet use, primarily in public libraries.

You may click on the titles above or see our Field Initated Studies Section for more information.

-Amanda
arybin@du.edu

Who Knew – Books and the holidays

Publisher is matching donations — a new book for each dollar given — at First Book through December 31st.
Every dollar donated through Dec. 31 to First Book will be matched by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing with an entire book, up to a million new books. First Book is a nonprofit organization that gives away new books to children in need. When a donation is made the giver can download and personalize a card to notify someone of the gift, or an e-card can be sent instantly. To donate go to First Book’s site at http://www.firstbook.org

Book stores show strong jump in sales from November to December.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. retailers with sizable jumps in sales between November and December 2006 were as follows: book stores (86 percent); clothing stores (49 percent); jewelry stores (155 percent); radio, TV and other electronics stores (60 percent); and sporting goods stores (65 percent).

Source: Service Sector Statistics

http://www.census.gov/mrts/www/mrts.html

Obama’s book tops Amazon’s popular gift list
Amazon.com’s most popular gift for 2006 was Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope. It was the only book among their 19 most popular gifts for the year.

http://www.amazon.com/Most-Popular-Gifts-of-2006/lm/R11C4C9IL2I0UD

Boston-area library in 15th year of holiday book-giving program
The Acton Memorial Library in Acton, Massachusetts is currently in its 15th year of the popular Holiday Book Program. Donors purchase pre-selected titles from the library’s “wish list” in order to add to the library’s collection. The giver receives a card and a bookplate to dedicate to recipients with their name inside the purchased book, and a chance to be the first to read the book once it is processed. Last year, gifts totaled more than $1,500.

http://www.actonmemoriallibrary.org/Good-Word-No95.pdf

New Fast Facts: Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2006

This latest Fast Facts examines the results of the 2006 Challenges to Materials at Colorado’s Public Libraries report.
In 2006, out of the 115 public libraries in Colorado, 23 reported that they received a formal challenge during the year. There were a total of 89 individual challenges to books, materials, events, exhibits, and Internet-related services in the state’s public libraries.
See the complete Fast Facts at http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/254_Challenges.pdf

National Report on School Library Programs Released

AASL announced yesterday the release of “School Libraries Count! A National Survey of School Library Media Programs 2007″ an annual survey of school libraries.

From ALA website:

AASL releases report on first longitudinal survey

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has just released the results of its first longitudinal survey, School Libraries Count!

The survey, conducted January-March 2007, gathered data in a number of areas, including library staff, collections, technology, class visits and budgets. AASL will be using the data to develop tools to help library media specialists advocate at the local, state and national level.

“In a time of budget cuts and confusion about the role of library media specialists,” said AASL president Sara Kelly Johns, “it is more critical than ever that both the profession and educational decision-makers understand the state of the nation’s school library media programs.”

The survey will be conducted annually and will result in a longitudinal series that will provide data on the health of the nation’s school library media programs. The second survey is scheduled to open at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

Nancy Everhart, chair of the AASL Research and Statistics Committee, said, “The data from this survey will be valuable to researchers and practitioners alike. Researchers can use it to support further studies, and practitioners can use it to compare their programs to national benchmarks.”

More about the study: http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/slcsurvey.cfm

~Nicolle
steffen_n@cde.state.co.us

NCES Reports on Literacy Among 4th-Graders in U.S. and Internationally

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) just released, “The Reading Literacy of U.S. Fourth-Grade Students in an International Context Results From the 2001 and 2006 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).”

According to this report, “On average, U.S. fourth-graders scored higher than their peers worldwide, with average scores higher than the PIRLS scale average (540 vs. 500), and a greater percentage of U.S. students reaching each achievement benchmark compared to the international median percentage…

The average score for U.S. students was:
* higher than the average score in 22 education systems
* lower than 10 education systems and
* not significantly different from 12 education systems.”

Full report: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2008017
Information about PIRLS: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pirls/index.asp
NCES: http://nces.ed.gov/index.asp

~Nicolle
steffen_n@cde.state.co.us

Who Knew – Literacy and Reading Habits

The British journal Education reported on results from the Literacy Skills for the World of Tomorrow study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UNESCO. Their review of the research indicates that 15 year-old girls in all 43 countries surveyed are surpassing their male counterparts in literacy. Source: Girls out-read boys worldwide. (2003). Education, 109, 1, Retrieved November 14, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database. Full research report available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/9/33690591.pdf

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Literacy Initiative for Empowerment ( LIFE) seeks by 2015 to help reduce by half the rate of adult illiteracy in the world. LIFE operations, a global strategy to raise awareness on the importance of literacy are country-led, respond to country-specific needs and priorities, and correspond to national capacities. Designed to further the goals of the UN Literacy Decade (2003-2012), LIFE is being implemented in 35 countries with a literacy rate of less than 50 per cent or a population of more than 10 million illiterates.
Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=19773&cr=literacy&cr1 =

“A poll commissioned by Teletext in 2007 questioned 4,000 adult readers on their reading habits. The survey found the top 10 fiction books that Britons cannot finish are:
1) Vernon God Little, D.B.C Pierre (35%)
2) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J. K Rowling (32%)
3) Ulysses, James Joyce (28%)
4) Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis De Bernieres (27%)
5) Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (24%)
6) The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie (21%)
7) The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho (19%)
8) War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (18%)
9) The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy (16%)
10) Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky (15%)”
-“A survey of 1,000 people for Bedtime Reading Week 2002 found the most popular place to read was in bed (65% of the sample). 25% relax with a book in the bath, 10% take a book to the loo (mainly men), almost half like to read on holiday and a third read on the journey to work. Over a third of those interviewed said they wish they had more time to read.”
-“Surveys by Muse, BML, DCMS, CIPFA in 2006 found that 47% of UK adults are registered with their local library”
-“A survey by Book Marketing for World Book Day 2001 found that the average British reader reads for between 4 and 6 hours a week. In Scotland the average is 5.8 hours. 54% said they read for relaxation or to relieve stress.”
Source: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/Database/stats/readingstats.html

“Iceland is full of readers. Iceland has the highest number of book readers per head of population in the world. This correlates with the fact that it has a near 100 percent functional literacy rate.”
Source: Literacy in Iceland from Australian School Library Association Inc. (ASLA) http://www.asla.org.au/pubs/access/a_commentary_180204.htm

According to the 2000-20004 estimated figures from the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) Institute for Statistics, China has a 90.9% literacy rate and an illiterate population of 87 million.
Source: http://www.accu.or.jp/litdbase/stats/chn/index.htm

The latest National Endowment for the Arts report draws on a variety of sources, public and private, and essentially reaches one conclusion: Americans are reading less. The 99-page study, “To Read or Not to Read,” was released November 19, 2007 as a follow-up to a 2004 NEA survey, “Reading at Risk,” that found an increasing number of adult Americans were not even reading one book a year.
Among the key findings:
Americans are reading less – teens and young adults read less often and for shorter amounts of time compared with other age groups and with Americans of previous years.
• Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier. Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.1
• On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.2
Americans are reading less well – reading scores continue to worsen, especially among teenagers and young males. By contrast, the average reading score of 9-year-olds has improved.
• Reading scores for 12th-grade readers fell significantly from 1992 to 2005, with the sharpest declines among lower-level readers.3
• 2005 reading scores for male 12th-graders are 13 points lower than for female 12th-graders, and that gender gap has widened since 1992.4
• Reading scores for American adults of almost all education levels have deteriorated, notably among the best-educated groups. From 1992 to 2003, the percentage of adults with graduate school experience who were rated proficient in prose reading dropped by 10 points, a 20 percent rate of decline.5
The declines in reading have civic, social, and economic implications – Advanced readers accrue personal, professional, and social advantages. Deficient readers run higher risks of failure in all three areas.
• Nearly two-thirds of employers ranked reading comprehension “very important” for high school graduates. Yet 38 percent consider most high school graduates deficient in this basic skill.6
• American 15-year-olds ranked fifteenth in average reading scores for 31 industrialized nations, behind Poland, Korea, France, and Canada, among others.7
• Literary readers are more likely than non-readers to engage in positive civic and individual activities – such as volunteering, attending sports or cultural events, and exercising.8
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071119/ap_en_ot/books_nea_study

Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier. Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.1
On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.2
Source: http://www.nea.gov/news/news07/TRNR.html

New Fellows at LRS!

LRS would like to announce and welcome our three new Library and Information Science Research Fellows from the University of Denver.

Regina Avila
Myntha Cuffy
Amanda Rybin

They will be assisting with various projects and topics including literacy, public, academic and school libraries.

~Daphne
eastburn_d@cde.state.co.us

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