Archive for the Academic Category

University of California System opts out of more than $10 million contract with scholarly publisher Elsevier

The University of California System is made up of 10 schools and over 100 libraries, including several prestigious research universities, such as UC-Berkeley. Inside Higher Ed reports that the UC System “accounts for almost 10 percent of the research output of the United States.” And, Elsevier is an information and analytics company that distributes many prestigious academic journals, such as the Lancet, through their online databases including ScienceDirect and Scopus.

Many universities and academic libraries view providing access to scholarly journals through online databases as an essential service to promote research and scholarly communication. The open access movement has been growing, but authors are typically still required to pay an additional fee to have their article be open access. Elsevier’s pricing to publish open access ranges from $150-$5,000 per article. Since the UC-System is a large and research-driven system, the decision to break with Elsevier could potentially be the beginning of a larger change in scholarly publishing and access.

The UC-Elsevier Negotiating Team was made up of six members, including one university librarian. In an open statement, the team explained that the primary reasons for turning down the Elsevier contract were higher costs, reduced rights, limitation on institutional support for authors, and excluded journals. The Los Angeles Times reported than in addition to the high cost of the UC contract with Elsevier, the system was also negotiating to have “universal free access to articles written by UC researchers and professors.”

The UC-System is not alone in their decision. Inside Higher Ed recently reported that Norway joined Sweden and Germany in opting out of their contracts with Elsevier. Norway’s negotiating authority also wanted an agreement where they could freely publish their own research articles for public access.

To read the full Los Angeles Times article, click here.

To read the full Inside Higher Ed article click here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

CUNY Open Education Resource program saves students $9.5 million on textbook costs

In 2017, the City University of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY) systems received funding to adopt Open Education Resources (OER) for many courses offered. This funding was awarded in response to librarian requests at both institutions and was adopted in 2,800 Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) courses impacting 76,000 students and resulting in $9.5 million saved on textbook costs. CUNY recently published the results of a survey their students to see what they thought about using the OER materials for their coursework.

The materials for ZTC classes were entirely digital which marks a change in the typical paper textbooks that students previously used for class. However, three-quarters (76%) of the students surveyed rated their ZTC materials easier to access than materials for prior courses. Out of these students, 4 in 10 (40%) cited the convenience of being able to use their ZTC materials anywhere, at any time, from any device as why they are easier to access. Almost a quarter (23%) said that all their materials being online or on Blackboard make them easier to access, and about 1 in 8 (12%) cited the fact that all the materials are free as why they are easier to access.

Using digital materials did not seem to impact students’ learning. One in five (20%) survey respondents accessed their ZTC course materials before the semester started, indicating high engagement with learning resources. Two-thirds (66%) of the respondents said that they feel they learn as well with digital materials as with print, and two-thirds (65%) also responded that they completed all of their readings for the course. Nearly all (95%) respondents said that they would recommend taking a ZTC course to other students.

The full report can be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Ithaka S+R report shows that ebook spending is rising in academic libraries, while print spending declines

Image credit: Ithaka S+R

Ithaka S+R recently published the results of their Library Acquisitions Patterns project, which examined purchasing trends in U.S. academic libraries. Their analysis focuses on print books, journals, and ebooks purchased at 124 participating academic institutions.

Total materials spending by the participating academic libraries rose by about 8% between 2014 and 2017 to over $313 million.  One-time resources (single books and ebooks) accounted for about 1 in 5 (16-21%) information materials purchased from 2014-2017, while ongoing materials like journals made up most of the remaining materials (70-76%). However, library spending is not rising as quickly as the prices for these materials – the average cost for an ongoing resource was well over a third (37%) higher in 2017 than in 2014.

Spending on print books declined by 12% during the four years tracked in this study, which was reflected to some extent in each disciplinary field. Spending on print books in STEM disciplines dropped by a quarter (25%), which was the most prominent reduction. Spending on print books in humanities and social sciences dropped by much less over the same period (7% and 8%, respectively).

Spending on ebooks rose by 9% from 2014-2017, although ebooks still only make up around 1% of total library materials spending. Ebook purchasing increased the most for social sciences materials (by 7%) and humanities materials (by 2%). Like with print book purchasing, ebook purchasing for STEM disciplines dropped by about 8% from 2014-2017.

GOBI Library Solutions was the largest vendor of print books and ebooks to the participating academic libraries during the time of the study, providing three-quarters (75%) of print books sales to the libraries by 2017. Amazon was the second largest vendor, hovering just below a tenth of libraries’ print book sales (8.2% in 2014 to 7.1% in 2017). GOBI was also the dominant vendor of ebooks to the libraries, providing 9 in 10 (90%) ebook sales. The next-largest ebook vendors to the participating libraries were Springer (1.8%) and ProQuest/Coutts (1.5%).

You can find the entire report here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

GAO report estimates that food insecurity is on the rise among college students

Image credit: Government Accountability Office

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report estimating the prevalence of food insecurity among college students in the United States. The report authors reviewed 31 studies to determine what is known about the extent of food insecurity on college campuses, and analyzed the most recent National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) data to estimate the number of college students at risk for food insecurity.

The studies that the GAO reviewed estimated that food insecurity could affect a wide range of college students – from 1 in 10 (9%) to over half (50%). Twenty-two of the 31 studies reviewed estimated that over a third (33%) of college students were experiencing food insecurity. Several studies estimated that students at 2-year colleges were more likely than those at 4-year institutions to be food insecure.

The report authors also identified risk factors that are commonly associated with food insecurity and analyzed NPSAS data to determine how common those risk factors are among undergraduate students. The seven risk factors identified are:

  • Having a low income
  • Being a first generation college student
  • Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
  • Being a single parent
  • Being disabled
  • Being homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • Being a former foster youth

Having a low income was the most common risk factor and affected about 2 in 5 (39%) undergraduates. Three-quarters (75%) of low-income students also experienced additional risk factors – of the low-income students, about a third (31%) are first-generation college students, a third (31%) receive SNAP benefits, and a quarter (25%) are single parents. Risk factors were more prevalent among students attending two-year institutions than their counterparts attending 4-year institutions. The number of college students experiencing one or more risk factors has increased (from 28% to 39%) since 1996, meaning that more students are at risk of being food insecure.

Academic libraries, like public libraries, are well-positioned to help address food insecurity among college students. They can distribute information clarifying which students are eligible for SNAP (which can often be confusing), create library guides pointing students to research and resources, and set up displays with information about food resources on campus.

The full report can be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

AFL-CIO fact sheet indicates that a quarter of American librarians are union members

Image source: AFL-CIO

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Department for Professional Employees recently released a fact sheet exploring, among other topics, library staff in the workforce, issues of pay and pay equity, and librarian representation in unions. This fact sheet uses data from a variety of sources, but draws primarily from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Community Survey.

The report indicates that in 2017, there were approximately 194,000 degreed librarians, 40,000 library technicians, and 96,000 library assistants employed in libraries throughout the United States. The majority of librarians (3 in 5, or 60%) worked in academic or school libraries, while about a third (32%) worked in public libraries. The remaining 8% worked in special libraries.

The report shows that about 4 in 5 (79%) librarians were women in 2017. Despite making up the majority of the profession, women were still likely to be paid less than men working in similar positions. Among full-time librarians, women reported a median salary of $50,911 compared to $58,032 for men, meaning that women librarians earn about 88% of the salary of men in similar positions.

Library workers are included in a professional occupation group that also includes education and training workers. A third (34%) of workers in this group are in a union, the highest unionization rate for any professional occupation group. In 2017, about a quarter (26%) of librarians were union members, joined by about 1 in 5 library technicians (19%) and library assistants (22%). Both librarians and library assistants who were union members reported earning about a third (31%) more than their non-union counterparts did in 2017.

For more information, the full fact sheet can be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Study of academic librarians finds that less than 1 in 5 respondents felt that their MLIS program adequately prepared them to conduct original research

College & Research Libraries recently published the results of a 2015 survey of academic librarians measuring their attitudes, involvement, and perceived ability to conduct academic research. This report provides an update to a similar study completed in 2010. The survey questions covered four topics: reading and conducting research, confidence in conducting research, training in research methods, and institutional support.

Over 4 in 5 (84%) of the academic librarians surveyed say that they are expected to read academic research on librarianship as part of their jobs, and about the same portion (80%) say that they are given time on the job to keep up with research. However, a little less than 3 in 5 (58%) respondents say that they regularly read the full text of research articles. Along with reading relevant research, about three-quarters (77%) of respondents have conducted their own research since completing their MLIS.

To measure confidence, respondents ranked themselves from 1 (not at all confident) to 5 (very confident) on several steps of the research process. The academic librarians responding to the survey were confident in completing many steps of the research process – most respondents answered that they are “very confident” in tasks like determining the appropriate research methods to use, using relevant keywords to find literature relevant to their research, and gathering data.

Confidence falls when it comes to analyzing data. Half (50%) of the respondents say that they are “not at all confident” in knowing which statistical tests to run. A similar number (53%) of respondents reported taking any course in statistical analysis, and about half (46%) of those respondents took that course as part of their undergraduate degree, not as part of the MLIS. Given the lack of statistics training as part of the MLIS, perhaps it is not surprising that less than 1 in 5 (17%) respondents feel that their MLIS program adequately prepared them to conduct original research.

The 2010 survey led to the creation of the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL), a continuing education opportunity for academic and research librarians to learn the components of the research process. IRDL will be accepting applications for their 2019 Institute starting December 1.

The full report of the 2015 survey can be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

“Quotable Facts about Colorado Libraries” highlights libraries working for access, knowledge, and community in Colorado

LRS recently released the latest version of Quotable Facts about Colorado Libraries, a booklet containing data and statistics about public, school, and academic libraries in Colorado. The booklet focuses on libraries working with and for their patrons, broken down into three sections: libraries working for access, knowledge, and community.

Public, school, and academic libraries circulated more than 22 items for each person in the state in the past year, which provided Coloradans with access to about 123 million items overall. More than 1 in 10 Colorado households do not have access to a computer or the internet at home, but all Colorado public libraries offer free public access internet computers and public wireless internet. Public library patrons use public access wifi at their libraries more than 10,000 times each day.

Colorado’s libraries have nearly 6,000 staff that work to provide knowledge to Coloradans. Public librarians answered about 3.6 million reference questions last year, ranging from researching family genealogy to applying for Social Security online. Every week, 7 in 10 (69%) school librarians teach their students how to use digital resources to find information.

Libraries help build community by providing meeting spaces and programming that offer Coloradans an opportunity to connect with each other. There are 6 times as many libraries in Colorado than there are Starbucks coffee shops, another popular meeting space. The Read to the Children program, run by institutional libraries in Colorado’s state prisons, allowed nearly 3,000 children to stay connected with incarcerated family members in the past year.

An online infographic version of the booklet is available here. If you are interested in receiving printed booklets (3.5 inches by 3 inches), contact us at (303)866-6900 or lrs@lrs.org.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation study shows that academic library employees remain mostly female and white despite a push for diversity

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently released the results of a study examining diversity in academic libraries. Ithaka S+R was commissioned to survey member institutions of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to find out how the academic library community perceives its progress towards more inclusive and diverse libraries.

Across the ARL libraries surveyed, about 3 in 5 (61%) library staff are women and 2 in 5 are men (38%). These gender ratios remain consistent across levels of management and seniority, but begin to vary among different positions within the library. More than 4 in 5 (84%) library communications positions are filled by women. Finance/development, human resources, and information literacy/teaching topped out the female-skewed positions (between 72%-82% female). Positions primarily staffed by men include security (73% men), technology (70%), maker space/design lab (65%), and facilities/operations (64%). When directors of the participating institutions were asked how their library compared to others in terms of gender equality, they considered their own library to be less inclusive than the larger academic library community.

In addition to being a largely female profession, 7 in 10 (71%) academic library staff members are white non-Hispanic. Unlike gender, ethnicity varies across management and seniority levels – nearly 9 in 10 (87%) senior staff are white non-Hispanic. Academic library directors considered their own library to be more equitable in terms of race and ethnicity compared to the library community, but felt that their libraries were less racially diverse than the library community. The directors surveyed mostly attributed the lack of diversity to external factors that might be limiting the number of job applicants from diverse backgrounds rather than internal factors like bias in the interview process or an inclusive library culture.

For more information about diversity in academic libraries, the full report can be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Colorado Academic Librarians Explore Services for Transfer Students

Note: This study will be presented on October 12, 2017, 3:15-4:15, at the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) Annual Conference (“Transfer Connection: Academic Library Services for Transfer Students“).

Transfer students are a unique population in academic libraries because their experiences vary widely: some are familiar with their community college library and then transfer to a four-year setting while others transfer between two and four-year institutions of different sizes. A team of librarian-researchers from University of Colorado-Boulder and Colorado Community Colleges Online (CCCOnline) are working together to learn more about serving this type of student. “I would discover that there were transfer students and they felt like they had missed out on the freshman level information literacy class that we typically offer,” explained participating librarian Megan Welsh of CU Boulder.

In spring 2017, Lindsay Roberts (CU Boulder), Megan Welsh (CU Boulder), and Brittany Dudek (CCCOnline) designed and distributed a survey about transfer students for academic librarians. “Specifically, we were really interested to know if libraries were doing outreach activities or instruction to transfer students as a unique population on our campuses,” Roberts said.

The research team determined their sample by using data from the Colorado Department of Higher Education to identify the four-year institutions that were receiving transfer students as well as all two-year schools in the state. This totaled 57 institutions, and the survey was sent to 44 of them (the team eliminated institutions that had closed or were closing or hadn’t transferred any students to public four-year institutions in 2015).  Fifty-five librarians responded representing 30 higher education institutions in the state: 20 four-year schools and 10 two-year schools. About three-fourths of the respondents (76%) worked in four-year schools. Only two of the libraries at four-year institutions represented by respondents were currently offering information literacy instruction specifically tailored to this group.

The survey also gathered information about the kinds of information literacy activities being used by libraries at two-year and four-year institutions. The largest difference between implementation of activities was for courses with an embedded librarian, which 80% of four-year library respondents use and 30% of two-year library respondents use.  Another large difference was in the usage of handouts: 100% of two-year library respondents use them, and 65% of four-year library respondents use them. See the chart below for additional results:

Moving forward, the research team plans to continue working together to address questions about transfer students. CU Boulder libraries launched a new event this fall to welcome transfer students to the library, a fall picnic and information session.

Interested in learning more? The research team will be hosting a CAL conference session, “Transfer Connection,” on October 12, 2017 to discuss this project and facilitate more conversation on this topic. They are hopeful that these kinds of conversations could lead to increased collaboration across two- and four-year institutions and continual service improvement.

The number of jobs posted to Library Jobline has nearly tripled since 2009

 Library Jobline, LRS’s website for library job postings and resources, posted a record number of jobs in 2016 and saw a continued increase in the number of people using the website to post and search for jobs. Data collected from the Library Jobline website are highlighted in the most recent Fast Facts report.

In 2016, 673 library jobs were posted to Library Jobline, with May being the busiest month for job postings (73 posts). More than two-thirds (69%) of jobs posted were located in Colorado, and over half (53%) were full-time positions. A majority of jobs posted were in public libraries (66%), while 1 in 5 (20%) were academic library jobs. Jobs in institutional libraries, school libraries, and other institutions made up the remaining posts.

Salaries for library positions have also remained steady after an increase from post-recession lows. Average hourly salaries for Academic library positions ($21.96) were similar to last year, and Public library positions ($22.09) increased by 6% since 2015. The average hourly salary for School libraries ($19.22) recovered from its low in 2015 ($16.62). Average salaries for positions not requiring an MLIS jumped about another dollar to $18.12/hour, while average salaries for jobs requiring an MLIS continued to hover around $24.28/hour.

Subscriptions to Library Jobline have also continued to grow, with 556 new jobseekers and 154 new employers added in 2016. This led to more than 823,000 emails with job opportunities sent to jobseekers –more than 2,000 emails a week!

Are you hiring at your library? In the library job market yourself? Sign up for Library Jobline as an employer or jobseeker. Jobseekers can specify what jobs they’re interested in and get emails sent straight to their inbox whenever new posts meet their criteria. Employers can also reach nearly 5,000 jobseekers and more than 1,000 followers on Twitter @libraryjobline.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

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