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America’s Star Libraries, 2013

starlibraries

Image Credit: Library Journal

 

Library Journal has just released its 2013 Index of Public Library Service and Star Library ratings. This index is a rating system for public libraries nationwide, and libraries earn a star by being in the top 30 of their expenditure peer group (top 15 for the highest expenditure group) on an index score based on four per capita service output statistics: library visits, circulation, program attendance, and public Internet computer use.

Congratulations to the following Colorado libraries that were named star libraries this year:

  • Arapahoe Library District
  • Denver Public Library
  • Douglas County Libraries
  • La Veta Regional Library District
  • Limon Memorial Library
  • Mancos Public Library District
  • Ridgway Library District
  • Swink School/Public Library
  • San Miguel Library District #1/Telluride

Interested in seeing more data and information about Colorado libraries? Be sure to check out our interactive public library statistics tool.

Colorado School Library Survey Deadline Extended

Good news! We’ve extended the deadline for completing the 2013-2014 Colorado School Library Survey to Monday, December 2, so that everyone has time to participate. School librarians–your  responses really do matter, and we hope you will take the time to complete the survey!  Here are a couple examples of how we use your results:

  • This past spring, we used the survey results, combined with some other research we’ve done, to create an infographic that links school libraries and librarians to student achievement.
  • And, we are in the process of creating new and improved school library profiles, which we will debut in spring 2014 using your results from this year’s survey. While these profiles already exist, we are redoing them so that they will serve as effective tools for self-assessment and promotion.

For these reasons and more, we encourage you to take the survey. You can access it at http://www.lrs.org/slsurvey/.

You should have received your login information in a letter and/or email, but if you need it, please contact us at lrs@lrs.org or 303.866.6900.

Thank you for your participation in this year’s Colorado School Library Survey!

 

Less than 38% of young Americans can complete tech tasks more difficult than sorting e-mails into folders.

Group of students in library using tablet PC

Although the United States invented the personal computer, its young adults are falling behind many other countries in their technological proficiency, according to a recent article in Education Week. The article cites a study performed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in which young adults aged 16 – 24 years, from 19 countries, attempted to perform tasks of three different difficulty levels, including sorting e-mails into folders, organizing data into spreadsheets, and managing reservations for virtual meeting rooms. Young adults from the U.S. performed the worst, as less than 38 percent could successfully complete tasks more difficult than sorting e-mails into folders; and 11 percent were unable to perform the most basic exercises – the second-highest rate among the participating countries. In comparison, 44 percent of Sweden’s young adults achieved the two highest levels of proficiency.

How can the U.S. facilitate digital literacy among young adults? Educators, in particular, can play a role by introducing students to various technologies, and teaching them to use them. In fact, school librarians are uniquely positioned to work with students to increase these skills, with their emphases on 21st-century instruction strategies such as teaching students to use digital resources and to use technology to organize and share information. Also, Brian Lewis, the chief executive officer of the International Society for Technology Education, an educational technology advocacy group, recommends that educators engage students with technologies they are already accustomed to, such as digital games. Once educators have captured their students’ attention, they can then focus their attention toward using technology for, perhaps, less fun, but more useful, purposes.

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.

In 2012, academic librarians in the West & Southwest out-earned all-US-region averages in 11 of 17 job categories

In 2012, academic librarians in the West & Southwest out-earned all-US-region averages in 11 of 17 job categories

FF_Academic lib salariesOur newest Fast Facts report analyzes results from the 2012 American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) Salary Survey to better understand how academic librarians’ salaries in the West and Southwest (the region including Colorado) compare to other regions. The survey breaks down salaries by job category and institution type, and it covers positions that require an ALA-accredited MLIS/MLS and offer salaries of more than $22,000.

What did we find? University librarians in the West and Southwest earned higher average salaries in every job position in 2012. Directors and librarians who don’t supervise others earned more in average salary in the West and Southwest across all institution types. But two-year college librarians had challenges: middle management (managers and department heads) and deputy directors in the West and Southwest earned less than the average salaries in all regions.

Read more about the 2012 salary figures in our infographic and Fast Facts report, 2012 Academic Librarian Salaries: The West & Southwest Region Remains Competitive. And compare these figures with 2010 ALA-APA Salary Survey results in Fast Facts No. 297, 2010 Academic Librarian Salaries: West and Southwest Region Offers Competitive Pay.

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.

21% of Americans without health insurance do not use the internet

21% of Americans without health insurance do not use the internet

health_insurance_final

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

On October 1, 2013, open enrollment began under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and approximately 2.8 million Americans visited Healthcare.gov to compare and apply for health coverage. For many, the online portal is the easiest and quickest way to accomplish these tasks and find related resources. Unfortunately, this option is not a viable one for the 15 percent of American adults who don’t use the internet for various reasons, as discussed in one of our recent Weekly Number posts. Furthermore, the Pew Research Center recently found that about 1 in 5 (21%) uninsured Americans don’t use the internet.

Forever devoted to the principle of equitable access, libraries are integral in ensuring that these offline parties are not denied the opportunity to obtain affordable health coverage. Those who do not use the internet due to lack of access will find it offered for free at the library, and those experiencing difficulty in navigating the internet might benefit from library programs aimed at teaching basic technology skills. Additionally, libraries across the country have taken special efforts to disseminate information about the ACA, and help interested parties obtain coverage. In Colorado, for example, interested parties can find a list of library presentations on the ACA throughout the state—and elsewhere—via the Connect for Health Colorado portal, or via individual libraries’ websites (e.g., the Denver Public Library’s “Affordable Care Act” page). At other libraries, such as the Waukegan Public Library in Illinois, patrons can “drop in” for bilingual group or one-on-one sessions with library staff to determine their eligibility for certain plans, compare prices, and apply for coverage. The passage of the ACA has afforded libraries another opportunity to demonstrate that they are receptive and responsive toward community needs, and they are surely up to the task.

Additional resources:

 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.

More than 3 out of 4 public libraries in the U.S. serve communities of less than 25,000 people

More than 3 out of 4 public libraries in the U.S. serve communities of less than 25,000 people

small_librariesImage credit: IMLS

What’s not surprising: rural and small libraries provide critical resources and serve as community anchors to populations of less than 25,000 and non-urban areas. What is surprising? That small and rural libraries make up more than 80 percent of U.S. libraries as of Fiscal Year 2011, according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) brief, “The State of Small and Rural Libraries in the United States.” Across the country, more than 3 out of 4 public libraries serve communities of less than 25,000 people, and nearly half of all U.S. public libraries are in rural areas. The breakdown of “small” and “rural” in Colorado’s 114 public libraries follows fairly closely to national numbers: 54 percent of public libraries are rural while 76 percent are small, according to the IMLS data. (It is important to note that while most rural libraries are also small, not all small libraries are also rural. Get more details about these differences, as well as the breakdown of subcategories within these identifiers, in the full IMLS briefing.)

As might be expected, rural areas have more difficulty obtaining broadband access than their urban counterparts. However, rural libraries are working to ease this divide by increasing the number of public access computers (see the Colorado State Library’s BTOP project for an example of this), up more than 20 percent across 3 years (FY2009-FY2011). Across the same time period, small libraries have had a similar increase in the number of public access computers (18%). Interestingly, libraries serving communities of less than 25,000 provide 21.1 million e-books to their users, or 60 percent of all e-book holdings in the U.S.

And it’s not just technology: both rural and small libraries have seen increases in overall circulation and visitation from FY2009 to FY2011. In fact, visits per capita are higher at rural and small libraries—7.6 visits per year and 5.5 visits per year—than at their more urban and larger (serving 25,000+) counterparts at 5.7 visits per year and 4.5 visits per year, respectively.

Interested in showing how your small or rural library is making an impact? View your library’s annual statistics through our interactive tool, as well as state totals, averages, and ratios. And don’t forget other sources of public library data, such as the Public Library Funding and Technology Access study and the Public Library Data Service study, that also provide useful information.

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.

2013-14 School Library Survey now open!

Are you a librarian at a public school in Colorado? If so, we hope you will take the annual school library survey! It is available at http://www.lrs.org/slsurvey/. We’re continually working on ways to improve this survey and make better use of the results. Did you know that:

  • In 2011-12, we updated the survey so that the questions more accurately reflect the 21st century learning environment. This helps all of us to better tell the story of Colorado school libraries—their accomplishments, their challenges, and their potential to empower students in today’s global and technology-rich environment.
  • This past spring, we used the survey results, combined with some other research we’ve done, to create an infographic that links school libraries and librarians to student achievement.
  • And, we are in the process of creating new and improved school library profiles, which we will debut in spring 2014 using your results from this year’s survey. While these profiles already exist, we are redoing them so that they will serve as effective tools for self-assessment and promotion.

For these reasons and more, we encourage you to take the survey. The survey deadline is Friday, November 1, 2013.

You should have received your login information in a letter and/or email, but if you need it, please contact us at lrs@lrs.org or 303.866.6900.

Thank you for your participation in this year’s Colorado School Library Survey!

15% of American adults don’t use the internet

pew_nonImage credit: Pew Internet

Despite the fact that an increasing number of job applications and other important resources are being offered solely online, not everyone in the U.S. uses the internet. This simple fact has been emphasized countless times in years past, through discussion of the “Digital Divide.” Most recently, in the report Who’s Not Online and Why, Pew Internet indicated that, as of May 2013, 15% of American adults don’t use the internet.

Why not? About one-third (34%) of non-users just don’t believe the internet has any relevance to their lives. These non-users are not interested in using the internet, and some think using the internet is a waste of time. Another one-third of non-users (32%) cite usability issues as reasons for not using the internet. Some of these non-users deem using the internet as too difficult or frustrating, while others claim they are “too old” or physically unable to use the internet. About one-fifth (19%) do not use the internet because of the expense it entails, and 7 percent cite a lack of access to the internet.

Pew’s report provides libraries with a better understanding of non-users and how to serve them. Some non-users might never develop an appreciation for the internet—no matter the efforts of others to demonstrate its utility—and will continue to rely on libraries to provide information in non-digital formats. Other non-users, however, might simply need more incentive to use the internet, and libraries can seize this opportunity to demonstrate why it is beneficial and, in many cases, a necessity. For the non-users who simply do not have access to the internet, or do not know how to use it, libraries can, of course, serve as an important resource, providing free high-speed access and technology-oriented classes. For a great example of this, see LRS’s Fast Facts series on the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP), and its positive effects in Colorado:

Libraries: What attempts have you made to reach non-users to market your technology resources and classes? Have they been successful?

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.

72% of online adults use social networking sites

72% of online adults use social networking sites

Pew_Adult Social Media Use

You suspected it, but here’s the proof: nearly three-quarters of online adults use social media, according to a May 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center. And more and more older adults are using them, too: adoption rates have jumped to 43 percent among those 65 and older.

So what does this mean for libraries? Meet your users where they are – in this case, on social networking sites. Preliminary data from an LRS study of public library websites and social media use suggest that libraries are getting there: almost 3 in 4 public libraries from our national sample were on Facebook and 2 in 5 were on Twitter. Stay tuned to LRS.org for final results from our biennial study. In the meantime, take a look at what we found in 2008 and 2010 on our page devoted to this study: http://www.lrs.org/data-tools/public-libraries/u-s-public-libraries-and-the-use-of-web-technologies/.

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.

Nearly 50% of library workers say the economic downturn would lead them to retire later and/or stay in their current job

Nearly 50% of library workers say the economic downturn would lead them to retire later and/or stay in their current job

Retirement_school libsImage credit: Library Leadership & Management

A new study published in Library Leadership & Management dives into results from a national survey of current library workers regarding their retirement plans, particularly after the economic downturn. Analysis suggests that while more than one-fourth of respondents ages 50-59 and almost three-fourths of respondents in their 60s and 70s plan to retire in the next 5 years, close to half of all respondents said that the economic downturn would lead them to retire later and/or stay in their current job. For three-fourths of respondents, pay and health benefits were “very important” or “critical” factors in their decisions to keep working. As might be expected, those at school libraries were far more likely to leave the field or retire early than their public and academic library colleagues, perhaps alluding to the vulnerable status of school libraries.

Learn more about the changing library workforce here in Colorado at our webpage devoted to publications, presentations, and research on the topic.

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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