News

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.

Top 5 Unique Tools Loaned by Libraries

leak_detector

Image credit: Ann Arbor District Library

1. Thermal leak detector – Ann Arbor District Library (Michigan)

2. Table saw – Berkeley Public Library (California)

3. Hedge shears – Fletcher Free Library (Vermont)

4. Wood carving tool set – Grosse Pointe Public Library (Michigan)

5. Energy meter – Jefferson County Public Library (Colorado)

Libraries have been getting some national love recently! NPR’s Keys To The Whole World: American Public Libraries series, an NBC Nightly News piece on unique lending items, not to mention the newly opened BiblioTech digital public library in San Antonio—it’s always refreshing to see libraries talked about in a positive way, especially by those outside Library Land. To highlight some of the amazing services libraries are providing beyond what’s traditionally been expected of them, we’re introducing a new feature called “Beyond Books.” From time to time, we’ll be sharing examples of unique lending programs, events, and outreach that libraries are offering, and we’ll be asking for your input, too! Share your library’s stories with us, and tell us what we’ve missed.

First up? Tools. Of course this is not a new service for libraries to provide, but one that’s been reinvigorated thanks to unique community needs and savvy librarians who know how to respond. What’s the most popular tool lent at your library?

The average copyright year of history/geography books in Colorado’s school libraries is 1995

copyrightIt’s difficult to imagine K-12 schools not teaching students about the tragedies that unfolded on September 11, 2001. Indeed, Colorado K-12 students attending public schools do learn about that day’s events during their history/social studies classes, but they will likely encounter problems if they try to search for additional information about the event in their school library’s history section. According to the 2012-2013 School Library Survey results, the average copyright for books that fall in the 900 range (history and geography) of the Dewey Decimal System is 1995—when Bill Clinton was still serving his first term.

Are you looking for funding sources to update your school library’s resources? Check out this blog post for links to possible grant opportunities.

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 2011-12, 52% of US public school library staff had a master’s degree in a library-related field

In 2011-12, 52% of US public school library staff had a master’s degree in a library-related field

nces

According to survey results from the 2011-12 National Center for Education Statistics Salary and Staffing Survey, two-thirds of US library media centers in traditional public schools and one-third of public charter schools had at least one paid full-time state-certified library media center specialist. About 20 percent of all public schools with library media centers operated with no full-time or part-time paid, state-certified library media center specialists.

On the surface, these are straightforward facts taken from these survey results. In reality, school librarians and libraries are notoriously difficult to define, count, and report. For example, New York City’s 1,700 public schools now employ 333 certified librarians—however not all of them are working as librarians. It is also worth noting the term “state-certified” is a very specific phrase indicating a staff member who has achieved state certification as a school library media specialist as deemed by the state’s licensure office (see Colorado’s endorsement requirements here). This is not equivalent to the staff member having an MLIS, despite the American Association of School Librarians’ position statement on Preparation of School Librarians that states “the master’s degree is considered the entry-level degree for the profession.” So, while more than 4 out of 5 full-time or part-time paid professional library staff were state-certified according to the NCES survey, only 52 percent had a master’s degree in a library-related major.

These examples call attention to the significance of research definitions and how, as savvy research consumers, we must be aware of context and background when considering results. And don’t get us started on how “library” is defined—we’ll dive into that gem soon, so stay tuned!

Tease out the importance of endorsed school librarians with our impact study summary infographic and webpage detailing the impact these staff members have on student achievement.

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.

Through the One Book 4 Colorado program, 74,000 copies of a new book were distributed to all 4-year-olds in Colorado

Through the One Book 4 Colorado program, 74,000 copies of a new book were distributed to all 4-year-olds in Colorado

ob4coIn May 2013, about 74,000 free copies of the book Duck on a Bike were distributed to 4-year-olds across Colorado during the second annual One Book 4 Colorado program (OB4CO), which aims to increase awareness of the importance of early-childhood reading. Parental response to the program was positive, as indicated by survey results. Seventy-five percent of parents responding to the survey claimed that they had read Duck on a Bike with their child multiple times. About half of the responding parents also agreed or strongly agreed that they spend more time reading with their child since participating in OB4CO. Additionally, about half of responding parents stated that their child is more interested in/talks more about books thanks to OB4CO.

A recent report by the Pew Research Center, Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading, addresses the use of libraries by families, and further examines parents’ perceptions of the importance of libraries in their children’s development. According to the report, 7 in 10 parents (70%) reported that their child had visited a library in the previous 12 months. Of the children who visited libraries, almost half (46%) attended a library event, such as the OB4CO’s giveaway. More importantly, more than 9 in 10 (94%) parents stated that libraries are important for their children, and 84 percent of these parents believe that “libraries help inculcate their children’s love of reading and books.”

Interested in learning more about early literacy and libraries? Check out our Fast Facts, “Early Literacy Information on Colorado Public Library Websites.” This report includes a link to early literacy resources that libraries can add to their websites.

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.

On average, each Colorado resident checked out 12 items from public libraries in 2012

On average, each Colorado resident checked out 12 items from public libraries in 2012

PLAR_circWe know that borrowing books is a very important service libraries provide – 80% of Americans say so. But how does this opinion translate into action? In Colorado last year, libraries circulated more than 66 million items, according to the 2012 Annual Public Library Survey. In other words, each Colorado resident checked out an average of 12 items in 2012, a figure that has generally increased each year since we started collecting these statistics in the late 1980s.

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.

Study shows that one library district’s return on investment to taxpayers was up to 400%

Study shows that one library district’s return on investment to taxpayers was up to 400%

roi

Image credit: Santa Clara County Library District

What value does your library provide to users? A recent return on investment (ROI) study of Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) examined how their community benefited from the library in 5 areas:

  • Enhancing early literacy and youth education
  • Promoting lifelong learning and personal growth
  • Building and bridging diverse communities
  • Providing access to information and technology for all
  • Supporting personal recreation and quality of life

The results showed  that in 2011-12, for every dollar that SCCLD spent, the community received between  $2.50 and $5.17 in quantifiable benefits (computers, programming and community events, materials, etc.). In other words, taxpayers received up to a 400% return on investment. Of course, many library features cannot be easily counted, so stakeholder interviews were also conducted to examine the intangible benefits that users received. A wide range of benefits were identified, including the following:

  • An efficient, environmentally-conscious way to provide shared resources
  • Opportunities for exploration, creativity, and expression
  • A gathering place for diverse communities throughout the library district
  • Individual and community benefits of personal health and wellness
  • Expert guidance in identifying reliable information sources  and the cultivation of information literacy

Are you trying to demonstrate the value of your library to stakeholders? Check out the study report for some ideas on documenting its quantifiable and non-quantifiable benefits.

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.

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

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