News

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

2006 State Library Report Published by IMLS

WASHINGTON, DC–The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) issued its first library statistics report on state library agencies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia for state fiscal year (FY) 2006. The State Library Agency Report for FY 2006 includes a wide array of information on topics such as libraries’ Internet access, services, collections, staff, and revenue, and is used by state and federal policymakers, researchers, and others…

For more information on the Library Statistics Program, visit: http://www.imls.gov/statistics.

The report is available in PDF format at: http://harvester.census.gov/imls/pubs/stla/index.asp.

From IMLS Press Release
November 16, 2007
————————————————

Note, the reports from previous years were published by NCES.

~Nicolle
steffen_n@cde.state.co.us

NCES Releases 2005 Stats for Public Libraries

From NCES:
Public Libraries in the United States: Fiscal Year 2005
Description: This report includes national and state summary data on public libraries in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with an introduction, selected findings, and several tables. The report, based on data from the Public Libraries Survey for fiscal year 2005, includes information on population of legal service area, service outlets, library collections and services, full-time equivalent staff, and operating revenue and expenditures. The report includes several key findings: Nationwide, visits to public libraries totaled 1.4 billion, or 4.7 library visits per capita. The average number of Internet terminals available for public use per stationary outlet was 11.2.
————————

For more on Colorado public library statistics, visit: http://www.lrs.org/pub_stats.php.

~Nicolle
steffen_n@cde.state.co.us

Return on Investment Resources for Everyone…Really!

Whether you’re a public library director or–like me–a public library user, there is a return on investment (ROI) resource for you. Check out the…

CALCULATORS
Personal ROI Calculator
This online tool calculates the individual estimated return on investment for the Colorado public library of your choice. Other states have done ROI calculators, but not like this one!

Do you work in a public library? Well, this calculator can be customized for your library’s website. See DPL’s at: http://www.denverlibrary.org/news/dplnews/roi_calculator.html (it is also linked from their homepage). Or if you prefer, it can be a direct link from your library’s website. Link to the calculator on the LRS website and your library’s name can be pre-filled in the drop-down box. Either way, it can be a fun, yet powerful tool to demonstrate the dollar-and-cents value of your library.

Library ROI Calculator
This tool estimates the ROI for your library using a peer-based return on investment calculator.

OTHER RESOURCES
At the CAL Conference last week, Zeth and I did a presentation on the ROI study. The PowerPoint presentation and other resources we discussed can be found on the ROI page.

Other resources on the ROI page include individual reports for participating libraries, newspaper articles, and links to other studies.

Zeth also recently added a function called “LRS Conversation” so that you can share your comments online about the ROI study or the personal ROI calculator. We look forward to reading what you have to say!

~Nicolle
steffen_n@cde.state.co.us

LRS Activities at CAL 2007

As usual the Annual CAL Conference is packed with LRS activities. Please join us for…

Booth – Friday, November 9, 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 10, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Chat with LRS staff at our booth (#8) in State Library “wing” of the exhibits.

Reception – Thursday, November 8, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
20 Years…and still counting! Prior to the opening keynote address by Nancy Pearl, the Library Research Service will host a reception celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Session – Friday, November 9 at 10:15 a.m.
“What’s It Worth to You? A Return-on-Investment Study of Selected Colorado Public Libraries”

Awards Dinner – Friday, November 9 at 5:30 p.m.
Keith Lance, former Director of the Library Research Service, will be receiving the Career Achievement Award.

Career Fair – Saturday, November 10 at 4:30 p.m.
LRS will be at the Career Fair to provide information about LibraryJobline.org and how it can help both employers and employees.

Hope to see you there!
~Nicolle

Conference info: http://www.cal-webs.org/conference.html

School Library Survey Deadline Extended

The deadline for completing the 2007-08 school library survey has been extended. If you haven’t had the chance to complete it yet, you now have until November 21 to do so. Help us provide a more complete picture of what school libraries are doing for Colorado’s children by completing the survey at http://www.lrs.org/slsurvey.

Zeth
lietzau_z@cde.state.co.us

2007 Public Library Internet Survey Underway

I encourage Colorado public libraries to participate in this important national survey. The findings from this study will give public library administrators, librarians, boards, and advocates powerful data to use when talking about Colorado libraries. This is the kind of data that speaks volumes to legislators, the media, and the general public.

To see last year’s PLIS results, visit the FSU Web site at http://www.ii.fsu.edu/plinternet/.

The goal for each state is a 60% response rate. Any public library or library branch can participate. Access the survey at: http://survey.pnmi.com. See below for more information.

~Nicolle

More information about the study:

A national survey of public library computer and Internet access was mailed to public libraries early September 2007. The study is funded by the American Library Association and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and conducted by researchers from Florida State University’s Information Use Management and Policy Institute, and builds on research conducted since 1994. More information on this project is available at http://www.ala.org/plinternetfunding/, including the recently released report based on the 2006 survey many of you completed.

Your participation in the survey provides public libraries, state library agencies, the American Library Association, policymakers, and others with extremely important data regarding public library computer and Internet access issues, what it takes to sustain public access computer and Internet services in your library, and the impacts of such public access services on the communities that your library serves.

You may access the survey at http://survey.pnmi.com. The survey is web-based and has a total of 21 questions that will take you about 40 minutes to complete. PLEASE COMPLETE THE SURVEY BY NOVEMBER 25, 2007.

You will need your state assigned Library ID code included in the survey announcement letter you received to initiate the survey. If you have lost that ID number, you can look it up on the survey site. If you have any questions, or need further assistance, please e-mail PL2007@ci.fsu.edu.

Thank you for your help!

John Carlo Bertot, Ph.D.
Professor
College of Information, Florida State University

LRS Alumni selected as an Emerging Leader

Holly Cole, an LRS Alumni, was chosen to be an Emerging Leader with ALA for 2008. Holly is currently working as a Youth Services Librarian/Assistant Branch Manager with the Weber County Library System in Utah. Way to go Holly! We’re so proud!!

Who Knew? Banned Books and Book Burning Fun Facts

In 2006, there were a total of 63 challenges to books, materials, events, and exhibits in Colorado public libraries. This was the lowest number of challenges since 2003. Of the 115 public libraries in the state, 23 had a challenge during the year. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson was the title most often named in a challenge.
Source: http://www.lrs.org/pub_stats.php

The first Index of Prohibited Books was drawn up by order of Pope Paul IV in 1559. The lists were issued 20 times through the centuries by different popes, the last issued as recently as 1948, and finally suppressed in 1966.
Source: http://www.beaconforfreedom.org/about_project/history.html

The origin of the term censor in English can be traced to the office of censor established in Rome in 443 BC. In Rome, as in the ancient Greek communities, the ideal of good governance included shaping the character of the people. Hence, censorship would have been regarded as an honorable task.
Sources: http://www.beaconforfreedom.org/about_project/history.html and http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/censor+(magistrate)

The first recorded book burning in the United States was in 1650. William Pynchon’s A Meritorious Price of Our Redemption was ordered destroyed by a court because the religious publication contained “errors and heresies.” The book was burned by the public executioner.
Source: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/commentary.aspx?id=2264

Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Boccaccio’s Decameron, Defoe’s Moll Flanders, and various editions of The Arabian Nights were all banned for decades from the U.S. mail under the Comstock Law of 1873. Officially known as the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act, this law banned the mailing of “lewd”, “indecent”, “filthy”, or “obscene” materials. The Comstock laws, while now unenforced, remain for the most part on the books today; the Telecommunications Reform Bill of 1996 even specifically applied some of them to computer networks.
Source: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/banned-books.html

50 years ago Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti contacted the ACLU to defend the publication of Howl. U.S. Customs officials had seized the books, stating, “You wouldn’t want your children to come across it.” A state court judge ruled that the poem could not be suppressed as obscene by local authorities.

In 2007, fearing repercussions from the FCC, in a New York radio station decided against airing Howl on the 50th anniversary, choosing to stream the poem on its web site instead.
Sources: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/04/books/04howl.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

http://www.aclu-wa.org/library_files/A%20History%20of%20Fighting%20Censorship.pdf

The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom reports there were more than 3,000 attempts to remove books from schools and public libraries between 2000 and 2005. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series tops the list of the most challenged books of the 21st century. Source: http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bbwlinks/topten2000to2005.htm

The Lorax by: Dr. Seuss was banned in the Laytonville, California School District on grounds that this book “criminalizes the forestry industry.”
Source: http://library.dixie.edu/new/whybanned.html

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was banned as recently as August 2001, in Oklahoma for “racially charged language.” It was also banned from the Lindale, Tex. advanced placement English reading list (1996) because the book “conflicted with the values of the community.” Also challenged at the Warren, Ind. Township schools (1981), because the book “represents institutionalized racism under the guise of ‘good literature’.” Also challenged–and temporarily banned–in Eden Valley, Minn. (1977).
Sources: http://library.dixie.edu/new/whybanned.html http://title.forbiddenlibrary.com/

The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Colorado Association of Libraries has information on how libraries can deal with challenges and other important information:

http://www.cal-webs.org/ifhandbook.html

For more information about banned books visit:

Banned Book timeline

http://www.thebookstandard.com/bookstandard/news/global/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001181785

American Library Association

http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bannedbooksweek.htm

And finally a few quotes to end our Who Knew about Banned Books:

“Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance.”
— Lyndon Baines Johnson, February 11, 1964

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Who will watch the watchers?”
— Juvenal

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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.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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