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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.

Nearly 1 in 5 full-time professional positions taken by 2011 LIS graduates were outside the LIS field

Nearly 1 in 5 full-time professional positions taken by 2011 LIS graduates were outside the LIS field

Weekly Number_LJ Placements_chart

Image credit: Library Journal 2012 Placements & Salaries Survey

Library Journal’s annual Placements and Salaries survey provides insight into where new LIS graduates are finding jobs, what they’re being paid, and for what kinds of positions. For the class of 2011, graduates reported a 5 percent increase in average starting salaries, fewer temporary and part-time positions, more “emerging” job titles (like “digital asset manager”), and more jobs outside LIS in fields like software engineering and user interface design. Even better news: the average job-seeking process took just under 5 months for this group of grads, with a job hunt of 3 months mentioned most frequently in the results.

For a closer look at the general LIS job market, check out our Fast Facts report on LRS’ own Library Jobline and trends spotted during 2012. If you’re in the hunt for a new position, sign up for custom job notifications by RSS and e-mail through our free job posting service or follow us on our jobs-devoted Twitter feed @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.

23% of U.S. teenagers have a tablet device

23% of U.S. teenagers have a tablet device

teens_and_tablets

In March of this year, the Pew Research Center conducted a study on teenage technology use, and found that mobile access to the internet among teens is “pervasive.” According to the study, almost half of teens (47%) own a smartphone, and almost 1 in 4 (23%) own a tablet (which is comparable to the general adult population). Additionally, almost 3 in 4 teens (74%) say that they use mobile devices to check the internet at least occasionally, and 1 in 4 (25%) claim to be “cell-mostly” internet users. This apparent enthusiasm for mobile technologies, such as tablet devices, has not yet been matched by the institutions charged with educating teens—not in Colorado, at least. For the 2012-2013 school year, responses to the Colorado School Library Survey indicate that in Colorado’s public high schools, there is a median of less than one tablet (0.67) with access to library resources per 100 students.

Are you looking for funding sources to purchase tablets for your library? Check out these links for possible grant opportunities:

For more information about technology in Colorado school libraries, see our Fast Facts, Colorado School Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2011-2012, as well as the 2012-2013 Colorado School Library Survey results.

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.

2012-2013 Colorado School Library Survey data now available

2012-2013 Colorado School Library Survey data now available

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Every year, we conduct a survey of Colorado public school libraries. The results of this survey, which include information about library instruction strategies, collections, web presence, staffing, usage, and budgets, help administrators, school library staff, and other stakeholders with planning and evaluation. These results are also used to market and advocate for school libraries; for example, earlier this year we published a school library infographic that shows the impact of school libraries on academic achievement.

Results from the 2012-2013 survey are now available. We’re excited to present a brand new set of tools for interacting with the survey data. The tools will enable you to:

  • quickly locate data for a single year and statistic group
  • build custom data sets by specifying statistics, grade level, enrollment, etc.
  • visualize data using graphs
  • export data in .csv format

Check them out at http://www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/annual-statistics/!

60% of Colorado school librarians help students evaluate the credibility of information at least once a week

60% of Colorado school librarians help students evaluate the credibility of information at least once a week

student_skills

Image credit: Pew Internet

According to a Pew Research Center survey of more than 2,400 Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers, digital and web technologies are having beneficial and tangible impacts on student writing and skills needed for the future. When asked to rate the importance of various skills in contributing to their students’ success in life, the ability to judge the quality of information topped the list, with more than 9 out of 10 teachers calling it an “essential” skill for the future. School librarians are vital to building this skill, and the findings of our annual survey of Colorado public school libraries indicate that 60% of certified  librarians help students evaluate the credibility of information and web resources at least once a week.

Other skills deemed “essential” by a majority of teachers in the Pew survey include: behaving responsibly online, understanding online privacy issues, and finding information quickly. School librarians provide the foundation for such skills, by teaching students how to use digital resources, as well as how to use technology to organize and share information. Simply put, skills that teachers believe are important for the future are the same ones being taught by school librarians as part of everyday instruction.

Find out more about what skills Colorado school librarians are teaching with our newly released 2012-13 Colorado School Library Survey results, available at http://www.lrs.org/school/data/.

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.

57% of teens improved their digital media skills through participation in a 21st-century library learning space

57% of teens improved their digital media skills through participation in a 21st-century library learning space

youmedia

Image credit: Cynthia Howe

YOUmedia is a 21st-century learning space for teens located in 5 Chicago Public Library branches. It provides a place where teens can access and learn about digital media (photo and video editing, web design, podcasting, audio recording, etc.), and collaborate with their peers and mentors in a supportive environment.

The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research recently released the findings of a study they conducted of the impacts of YOUmedia on teen participants. A little more than half (57%) of the respondents reported that they improved their digital media skills (making a video, producing a podcast, creating a website, etc.) through their involvement in YOUmedia. In addition, more than half said that YOUmedia helped them with their schoolwork, and improved their writing skills and their communication with adults.

Through an IMLS and MacArthur Foundation grant, learning labs inspired by YOUmedia will be created by 12 organizations (7 libraries and 5 museums) across the country.

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.

Libraries pay up to 550% more for e-book bestsellers than consumers

Libraries pay up to 550% more for e-book bestsellers than consumers

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According to ALA’s 2013 State of America’s Libraries Report, 2012 was yet another tumultuous year for libraries in their quest to achieve fairness in e-book lending. ALA President Maureen Sullivan published an open letter to America’s publishers in September, requesting change, after Penguin (one of the “Big Six” publishers) denied libraries access to its titles, and others drastically increased their prices. To provide more information about this issue, Douglas County Libraries has a series of monthly e-book price comparison reports. Their July 2013 report shows that libraries still have a long way to go in this quest, as they are paying up to 550% more for e-book bestsellers than consumers.

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.

38% of younger Americans have used computers and the internet at libraries in the past year

pew_younger

Image credit: Pew Internet

The Pew Research Center’s newest stats from its Internet & American Life Library Services Survey dive into younger Americans’ (16-29 years old) library and reading habits and reveal an interesting blend of technology and traditional service expectations. Perhaps most telling is that this group is significantly more likely to have either used technology at libraries or accessed online library services than adults older than 30. For example, 38% of younger Americans have used computers and the internet at libraries in the past year, compared with 22% of Americans ages 30 and older. Such tech-centric use is balanced by the younger generation’s ties to print media, as three-quarters say they have read at least one print book in the past year, well above the 64% of older adults. This mix of preferences extends to library services, with 3 out of 4 younger adults saying it’s very important for libraries to offer free access to computers and the internet as well as books for borrowing.

For more on Americans’ reading habits over time, check out Pew’s interactive tool reporting stats by age group.

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.

The Impact of School Libraries on Academic Achievement

School Libraries Matter: Views from the Research

We are honored to have co-authored a chapter with our founder, Keith Curry Lance, “The Impact of School Libraries on Academic Achievement,” in the new book School Libraries Matter. In addition to reviewing the school library research that LRS and RSL Research have conducted over the past two decades, the chapter also contains a 5-step improvement plan to use this research to improve school library programs, as well as an agenda for future research.

For more information about LRS’s school library impact studies, as well as a bibliography of school library research, see http://www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/impact-studies/.

National 2011 Public Library Data Files Now Available

The national Public Libraries Survey data for 2011 is now available on the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) web site:  http://www.imls.gov/research/pls_data_files.aspx.  The data files are available in csv, xls, flat (ascii) and SAS formats.  The FY 2011 PLS report will be released in the early fall 2013.

Massive spreadsheets not your cup of tea? IMLS also has a “Compare Public Libraries” tool that “allows users to compare one library (the library of interest) with similar libraries (the comparison group).” Compare Public Libraries tool: https://harvester.census.gov/imls/compare/index.asp.

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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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