New blog series: Between a Graph and a Hard Place
Hello, world! We can all agree that these are strange times we are living through. Here at the Library Research Service, we’ve been thinking about how we can help. What skills could we share that might be useful to library staff and our communities? As library and information professionals, before this pandemic we already spent a lot of time thinking about information, what it means, and how reliable it is. Here at LRS, we are data geeks in addition to being regular library geeks, so we think about data a lot too—the good, the bad, and the misleading. Critically analyzing information is what...

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Every Day is Earth Day in Libraries
By on March 19, 2020 in The LRS Number
Half a century ago, Earth Day began as a grassroots effort to bring attention to environmental issues. Now fifty years later, organizers are bringing the focus back to climate change, an admittedly enormous challenge, and urging everyone to take part in protecting and restoring our planet. As lending institutions, libraries have long understood their role as stewards of environmental responsibility. The Green Library Movement began in the early 1990s as a commitment to greening libraries by reducing their environmental impact on the planet. The movement gained popularity around 2003 and then in 2019, the American Library Association (ALA) Council adopted...

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About 7 out of 10 US adults read a book last year, but among those without a high school degree it was 3 out of 10
By on March 4, 2020 in The LRS Number
About seven out of ten adults (72%) in the U.S. report that they read a book in the last 12 months. This percentage has stayed about the same since the Pew Research Center started conducting studies of adult reading habits in 2011, but it does vary depending on income and education. In the most recent survey in 2019, nine out of ten college graduates (90%) said they read a book in the past year while only about three out of ten (32%) adults without a high school degree did. Higher percentages of women, Whites, those earning more than $75,000, and people...

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How much is your library worth?
By on February 19, 2020 in The LRS Number
We can all agree that libraries are valuable to our communities, but exactly how much are they worth? Libraries are under increasing pressure to translate qualitative services into quantifiable impact. One approach is to determine the Return on Investment (ROI) a library provides to community members. Doing so communicates the value of public libraries in terms of dollars and cents. Traditionally a business metric, ROI measures a business’s profitability. Simply put, it compares costs to profits and expresses it as a ratio or percentage. For a public institution like a library, ROI demonstrates how much “value” is realized by the community...

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Loneliness Reaches Epidemic Levels. Are Public Libraries the Cure?
By on February 5, 2020 in The LRS Number
Libraries are not traditionally thought of as social spaces. Stereotypes of older women glaring over thick-rimmed glasses to shush talkative individuals pervade our pop-culture references. However, studies show that public libraries foster social support and decrease isolation. At a time when loneliness is being deemed a public health crisis in the United States, libraries are uniquely positioned to offer up a cure. Cigna, the global health service company, reported epidemic levels of loneliness in 2019 that continue to intensify. After surveying 10,500 adults, they found that three in five (61%) classify as lonely, a seven percentage-point increase from 2018. The results...

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Evaluation Training Opportunity for Colorado Public Libraries
By on January 27, 2020 in Public
Are you wondering how to assess your library’s impact? Do you have a brilliant idea for evaluating a library program or service but don’t know how to get started? Did you participate in the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) and need some ongoing support to realize your big ideas? Do you supervise a public library evaluation coordinator or data librarian and find it challenging to position them for success? The IMLS-funded project Embedding Evaluation in Libraries: Developing Internal Evaluators is the training program for your library. During a nine-month period from summer 2020 through spring 2021, teams from up to...

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