Archive for the Academic Category

Academic librarians estimate that only 28% of first-year students are prepared for college-level research

In January & February of 2017, Library Journal surveyed college and university libraries about their services for first-year students. The survey was sent to 12,000 academic libraries. In total, 543 schools participated: 399 four-year schools, and 144 two-year schools. The results were initially shared at the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2017 conference.

Respondents reported that, in their opinion, only 28% of first-year students are prepared for college-level research. Four-year and two-year academic librarians agreed that evaluating resources for reliability is a major challenge for first-year students.

The majority of participating libraries (97%) reported that they offer information literacy instruction for first-year students. Most of the time information literacy instruction is optional. It was mandated at 22% of four-year institutions and 7% of two-year schools. Librarians embedded within courses is more rare, with 35% of four-year schools and 23% of two-year schools offering that option. While information literacy instruction is offered widely, only 23% of respondents have a specific information literacy or first-year experience librarian.  When asked about the ACRL Information Literacy Framework, Respondents most frequently used the “Research as Inquiry” and “Searching as Strategic Exploration” areas in their instruction, and least frequently used “Information Creation as a Process.”

Most respondents’ schools (90%) measure first-year student success. This takes a variety of forms, for example student retention rates, student satisfaction, and GPA. Not all academic libraries, however, have attempted to correlate information literacy or library experiences for first-year students with indicators of student success.  While the importance of information literacy is clear to librarians, what types of data could show a quantifiable connection between student success and information literacy?  Separately from the Library Journal study, librarians at the University of Minnesota have been researching this connection. Check out their studies for more information.

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.

Wisconsin HOPE Lab survey finds half of all community college students are struggling with food and/or housing insecurity

Image credit: The HOPE Lab

The HOPE Lab at the University of Wisconsin recently published a report detailing the results their survey of more than 4,000 community college students to answer a pressing question: what happens to economically insecure students that enroll in community college and are unable to keep up with the cost? As the cost of higher education increases more quickly than inflation, wages, and need-based financial aid, students are struggling to meet basic food and housing needs, compromising their cognitive functions and their ability to perform well in school.

Survey respondents indicated that they are often unable to afford to eat balanced meals. Over half (52%) of respondents said that they were at least marginally food insecure in the last thirty days, meaning that they felt anxiety over food sufficiency or shortage of food. More than a quarter (28%) of respondents said that they ate smaller meals or skipped meals to save money, and more than 1 in 5 (22%) said that they had gone hungry due to lack of money.

In addition to facing food insecurity, more than half (52%) of all respondents reported that they had experienced at least one form of housing insecurity in the past year. Students struggled most with paying rent on time (22%), or having not fully paid rent (18%) or utility payments (22%) that were past due.  Students faced varying levels of housing insecurity, with homelessness being the most severe. More than 1 in 10 (13%) survey respondents indicated that they experienced homelessness at least once in the past year.

These numbers indicate the need for action to be taken to ease the obstacles presented by poverty so that every student has the opportunity for educational success. Since libraries act as a campus hub, homeless students will frequently use them as a place of refuge before, after, or between classes.  Librarians and library staff are perfectly positioned to identify students that might be experiencing food and/or housing insecurity and can point them towards campus and community resources for students experiencing economic insecurity.

The full report can be found here. An example of a library guide for students experiencing homelessness 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.

More than three-fourths of survey respondents are likely to buy a state parks day pass after participating in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Colorado State Library program Check Out Colorado State Parks

 

 

 

 

Check Out Colorado State Parks, the result of a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado State Library, provides 287 Colorado libraries with two park passes and adventure backpacks filled with information and educational activities. Patrons of participating public, military, and academic libraries can check out a backpack for a week at a time to visit state parks for free.

Between June and November 2016, 720 patrons completed a survey about their experience with the program. The results indicated that most patrons (97%) were likely to recommend a visit to a state park, and more than three-fourths (77%) were likely to buy a state park day pass. In addition, 85% agreed that the experience helped them learn about nature, and 94% agreed that the program changed their view about what libraries have to offer.

See more highlights from the survey in our new Fast Facts.

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.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Agree Fake News Has Caused “A Great Deal of Confusion”

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Image credit: Pew Research

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on Americans’ sentiments about fake news.  Participants were asked to fill in the blank in the following sentence: “Completely made-up news has caused _____ about the basic facts of current events.” Nearly two out of three of U.S. adults surveyed (64%) said that completely made up news has caused a great deal of confusion. The Pew Research Center report highlights that this response was shared across “incomes, education levels, partisan affiliations and most other demographic characteristics.”

Participants were also asked about their confidence in their ability to recognize fake news. About 4 out of 10 (39%) people surveyed said they were “very confident” they could recognize made-up news, and an additional 45% said they were “somewhat confident.” Although people had high confidence in their abilities to recognize fake news, many people had still shared it online. Overall, about a quarter (23%) of respondents had shared made-up news, sometimes because they did not initially realize it was fake and sometimes for other reasons, like entertainment.

Finally, participants were asked whose responsibility it is to stop the spread of fake news. Respondents could select multiple groups with “great responsibility.” About 2 out of 5 people (43%) chose “members of the public,” a little less than half (45%) chose “the government, politicians, and elected officials,” and about 2 out of 5 (42%) chose “social networking sites and search engines.”

While librarians and librarians were not included specifically as a group that has a great responsibility to prevent the spread of fake news, many library publications–including American Libraries, School Library Journal, and Public Libraries Online–have pointed out the important role that strong information literacy skills play in preventing the spread of fake news, and how this vital skill set can be taught by librarians.

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.

Let’s Get Visual! Harnessing Data Visualization to Demonstrate a Library’s Impact

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Are you interested in getting started with data visualization? Check out our column in the November/December 2016 American Libraries: Let’s Get Visual! In this column, we share four simple steps for visualizing your data.

Coming to CAL 2016? Join us for “Measuring Your True Impact: Getting Started With Outcome-Based Evaluation”

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Will you be at CAL 2016? If so, we hope you will join LRS on Thursday, October 20, 3:15-4:15 in Golden Glow for Measuring Your True Impact: Getting Started With Outcome-Based Evaluation:

Your library offers a lot of great programs, but how can you determine what effects these have on your users? In this session, you’ll learn practical tips for getting started with outcome-based evaluation. You will gain a deeper understanding of a) what outcomes are and how they work in conjunction with inputs and outputs to provide meaningful information about your library’s impact on your community; b) how to measure them (including an overview of several free or low-cost outcome survey tools; and c) how outcome-based evaluation results can be used for management, strategic planning, and demonstrating the value of your library programs.

Join us this Thursday 4/28 for our webinar “Count Your Impact: Getting Started with Outcome-Based Evaluation”

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Are you wondering why everyone in the library world is talking about outcomes? Join us this Thursday, April 28, 12:00-1:00 MDT, for our webinar “Count Your Impact: Getting Started with Outcome-Based Evaluation,” and learn what all of the fuss is about. During our time together, you will gain a deeper understanding of what outcomes are, how to measure them (including an overview of several free and/or low-cost outcome survey tools), and how outcome-based evaluation results can be used for strategic decision-making and demonstrating the impact of your library. You can find out more information and access the online classroom via this link: http://cslinsession.cvlsites.org/upcoming/count-your-impact-getting-started-with-outcome-based-evaluation/.

Job postings on LibraryJobline have increased 188% since 2009

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LibraryJobline, LRS’s website for library job postings and resources, saw its best year yet in 2015 in terms of jobs that were posted. In the latest Fast Facts Report, 656 total job postings were added to LibraryJobline last year, which is almost three times the number of job postings in LibaryJobline’s slowest year, 2009. More than two-thirds (68%) of those job postings were located in Colorado, and just over half (53%) of jobs were full-time, a slight decrease from the previous year.

Average librarian salaries are continuing to increase and surpass their recession levels, although significant progress is slow. Jobs not requiring an MLIS saw the biggest salary increase in 2015, up to $17.05 after hovering around $15.00 for the past several years. MLIS required ($24.80) and preferred ($22.37) saw slight decreases from the previous year, although they are both still well above the average starting salary for any year before 2014.

Subscriptions to the site continued to show healthy growth, with 546 new job seekers and 115 new employers added in 2015, and we sent 741,000 emails – the most ever in a single year!

Are you hiring at your library? In the library job market yourself? Sign up for Library Jobline as an employer or jobseeker. Jobseekers can tell us what jobs they’re interested in and get emails sent straight to their inbox whenever new posts meet their criteria. And employers can reach more than 4,000 jobseekers and more than 900 followers on Twitter @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.

In EBSCO survey, nearly two-thirds of college students use library resources in their research

EBSCO_Student_research3

EBSCO has released an infographic that illustrates their findings from a 2015 survey of 208 students about how college students conduct research. The survey focused on general research trends, how students start research, as well as the research experience. The results indicate that while students are largely receiving library instruction and using library resources, they are often challenged by or are under-utilizing certain services.

For example, nearly three-quarters (72%) of students surveyed received library instruction in college, and while students often begin their research process with Google or Wikipedia, library resources are still the most popular for conducting research, with nearly two-thirds (64%) using resources found in the library. In addition to this, well over half (60%) of the survey respondents rate their own research skills as intermediate, although very few (7%) consider themselves an expert.

Yet, even as students see the merit in library resources, many may not consult a librarian in the research process. Despite the fact that 41% of students reported that evaluating sources was their main difficulty, over half (58%) of the students would turn to the professor first if they needed help on a project, while just under a third (32%) would go to a librarian. In addition to this, the survey results suggest that college students find online research tools difficult or inconvenient. About 2 in 5 (39%) found the library’s website “challenging.” They also overwhelmingly preferred the basic search rather than the advanced option, and the students surveyed did not understand the term “database.”

This survey reveals that college and university libraries are doing a good job of reaching students with instruction, and that students still value the resources that libraries have to offer. However, libraries serving college students need to continue to promote libraries and librarians as a first point of contact for information literacy help, and need to prioritize usability, especially as students increasingly conduct their research remotely.

This infographic is packed with useful findings, and you can soak it all in here.

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.

Despite intentions, only 25% of community college students transfer to a bachelor’s program within 5 years, according to the Community College Research Center

CCRC_Transfers

Image credit: Community College Research Center

The Community College Research Center conducts research on a wide variety of issues affecting two-year colleges nationwide. As a route to higher education for well over a third (40%) of undergraduates in the U.S., community colleges are for many an important gateway to improved opportunities and earning potential. Their current research about student completion and transfer rates reveals a couple of interesting trends concerning students’ pathways through postsecondary education.

For example, although 80% of students who enter community college intend to transfer to a four-year program in order to complete a bachelor’s degree, only a quarter (25%) of them actually transfer within 5 years of starting school. In addition to this, while nearly three-quarters (72%) of transfers end up in public institutions, a disproportionate amount of minorities (Black and Hispanic) and under-performing students end up in for-profit colleges when they transfer, and are less likely to complete their bachelor’s degree.

A finding that may come as surprising is that it’s not the increased rigor and expectations of four-year programs that is the primary reason causing transfer students to stall, but rather the loss of credits due to transferring. With all of this said, the students who do transfer successfully reap pretty significant rewards, saving significant amounts of money on their lower division coursework and seeing essentially the same income benefits as four-year institution natives.

Since community colleges are such significant gateways to higher education for a large proportion of the country’s population, and especially the underserved, libraries at two-year institutions represent important points of contact that can help students gain the skills they need to achieve a degree, and the knowledge necessary for successful transfer. Additionally, libraries at four-year institutions should be aware of the difficulties transfers face, and should strive to meet the unique needs of this group.

You can read the full report on college transfer students here, and find other current projects from the Community College Research Center here.

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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