Archive for the Public Category

Survey finds that public library program attendance has steadily increased over the past 3 years

PLDS FY2014_program attendance

Image credit: Public Library Association

The Public Library Association (PLA) recently published the results of their Public Library Data Service Annual Survey. The survey data are from fiscal year 2014 and include finances, resources, service usage, and technology use in public libraries.

One finding documented in the report is the recent tendency of libraries to hire more non-MLS staff than MLS librarians. The percentage of staff with “librarian” in their job title has steadily increased over the past ten years to make up just under a third (31%) of all library staff. The average percentage of MLS-degreed librarians employed by reporting libraries increased by 2.4% since FY 2009, while non-MLS librarians increased by 3.5%. Non-MLS librarians currently represent about 4 in 10 (39%) of all librarian staff, the highest percentage since FY2009.

Libraries also reported steady increases in both the number of library programs offered and program attendance. Although growth has been reported for the past three years, FY2014 marked the fastest rate – programs offered by public libraries increased by 7.3%, while program attendance increased by 6.3%. As PLA notes, more library programming combined with declining circulation numbers suggests that libraries are shifting their service delivery priorities.

The full report provides a wealth of information about public libraries in the United States and 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.

Number of materials challenges in Colorado public libraries is relatively consistent from 2013 to 2015

challenges

The Library Research Service’s latest Fast Facts report summarizes the results of our yearly investigation into the materials that are challenged in public libraries across Colorado. The report details the format, intended audience, reasons, and resolutions of challenges that were reported in the 2015 Public Library Annual Report. The information provided about these challenges help us to determine the attitude towards intellectual freedom in Colorado public libraries each year and to track changes over time.

In 2015, the number of challenges remained relatively consistent with what was reported in 2013 and 2014 – hovering just under 30 challenges across the three-year period.

Adults remained the most common audience for challenged materials, with 7 out of 10 (70%) challenges in 2015. However, challenges for children’s materials rose to just under a quarter (24%) of all challenges, up from 12% in 2014, and challenges for young adult material rose to about 1 out of every 5 (17%) challenges. As in 2014, the most common way to handle a challenge was to make no change at all, although there was an increase in librarians finding creative solutions to deal with complaints (“other” solutions were found for 10% of challenges). While “sexually explicit” remained the top reason for challenging an item, representing just over a quarter (26%) of all challenges, “violence” dropped from the second most frequent reason, with “unsuited to age group” and “other” rising to take its place.

The formats of materials challenged varied greatly in 2015 compared to previous years. Like last year, videos and books were the items challenged most, together comprising 80% of all challenges. However, there were no computer challenges in 2015, although that format made up about a third (32%) of all challenges the previous year. Formats that were challenged in 2015, but not in 2014, include periodicals, activities, and others (such as audiobooks and music). We can’t be sure about the reason for increasing challenges of various formats, but it may correspond with the expansion of the types of materials and programs offered by public libraries.

For more breakdowns of this data, check out the full 2015 Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries Fast Facts report.

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.

Pew study finds that 97% of adult library users identify as lifelong learners

LifelongLearning_libraries

Image credit: Pew Research Center

Library visits help encourage learning in children, but what about in adults?

A Pew study has found that adults who use libraries are more likely to consider themselves to be “lifelong learners” – that is, actively pursuing learning opportunities and learning to embrace new technologies. These results came out of a larger report examining general lifelong learning habits among adults.

When presented with the statement “I think of myself as a lifelong learner,” a large majority (79%) of adults who had visited a library or bookmobile in that past year indicated that the statement describes them “very well.” The number of library users who consider themselves lifelong learners rounds out to nearly everyone in this group (97%) after adding in the 18% of respondents who thought the statement described them “somewhat well.” Comparatively, about 7 in 10 (69%) of those who have not used a library in the past year described themselves as lifelong learners.

This group of lifelong learners engages in learning pursuits at the library at a rate of about 1 in 5 (23%). Those most likely to use library resources to pursue their interests include women (27% of this group), those ages 65 and older (30% of this group), and those living in households earning less than $50,000 (29% of this group).

Library users are also more likely than non-library users to adopt and use technology to aid in personal learning pursuits. More than 9 in 10 (93%) library users regularly access the internet either from home or the library, and about  three-quarters (74%) of these adults report using social media.

For more information, you can find the full report here. You can also check out a previous LRS Number post about general trends in lifelong learning habits.

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.

Number of students in Colorado with severe reading deficiencies drops 2.7% since 2013

reading deficiencies_demographic

Image credit: Colorado Department of Education

According to a recent report by the Colorado Department of Education, the number of students with reading deficiencies has dropped since the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act was implemented in 2013. The READ Act was passed in 2012 with the goal of ensuring that every student in Colorado reaches reading proficiency by the end of third grade, a time that researchers have identified as a critical benchmark that often predicts academic success throughout school. Under this act, students identified as having a “severe reading deficiency” (SRD) receive intervention support until their teacher determines that the student is meeting reading expectations for their grade level.

In 2013, about 1 in 5 (16.5%) of K-3 students were identified as having a SRD. That number dropped to 14.4% in 2014, and even further to 13.8% in 2015, resulting in a 2.7% decrease in students having a SRD over the two years since the READ Act was implemented. This may not seem like a high percentage, but it equates to 6,059 students who are now less likely to struggle throughout school and are more likely to graduate high school than students with a SRD.

The numbers are even more impressive among students who remained in the same school district. Following the 2013 cohort of first-graders, those who had consistent support from the same district were more likely to catch up with their peers’ reading level; out of the 10,737 students identified as having a SRD, over half (54%) were reading at grade level by the time they reached third grade.

The full report contains a wealth of related information, including breakdowns of the data by region and demographic group. This information can be useful to school librarians to identify which students may need extra support with reading.

Check out the full 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.

Almost three-quarters of U.S. adults self-identify as lifelong learners, according to Pew

Pew_LifelongLearning

Image credit: Pew Internet

One of the strongest values of libraries of all types is that of lifelong learning. Pew Research Center’s new study of personal and professional attitudes about learning reveals some significant trends about how American adults pursue their interests. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of U.S. adults consider themselves lifelong learners in some sense, with 74% identifying as “personal learners” and 63% of working adults identifying as “professional learners.”

Somewhat surprisingly, physical locations are still more important to Americans than digital technologies for seeking knowledge. At 81%, personal learners are 29% more likely to say that they learn at a physical location more than online. Professional learners prefer physical environments by a similar margin as well.

The U.S. adults surveyed by Pew cited many important impacts that lifelong learning has had. The biggest impact experienced by personal learners was helping them to feel more capable and well rounded, with almost a whopping 9 out of 10 (87%) indicating this impact. For professional learners, two-thirds (65%) said that professional learning expanded their professional network.

What is perhaps one of the most important findings of the study is that whether or not one identifies as a lifelong learner is greatly influenced by education, income, and access to digital technologies. For example, an overwhelming majority (87%) of those with at least one college degree participated in personal learning activities in the past 12 months, whereas only 60% of those with a high school degree or less did the same. Pew found similar results based on income as well as having smartphones and home broadband connection. With this in mind, libraries are essential points of contact in the quest to bridge the digital divide and provide access to diverse learning opportunities for all members of a community.

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.

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

outcome_final

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/.

RIPL receives an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program Grant!

imls

We are excited to announce that in partnership with the Colorado Library Consortium, we have received an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program Grant to fund our project “RIPL: The Second Wave.” During this three-year project, we will offer the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) in Atlanta, Georgia; local/regional events in New York, Maine, Texas, and California; and one-day preconferences with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries and PLA Project Outcome. Part of the funds will be used to provide scholarships for librarians working in small and rural libraries to attend the events. In addition, we will create an online community of practice to extend the learning opportunities for RIPL alumni and anyone else interested in public library data and evaluation. You can view the official announcement here.

74% of U.S. public libraries saw increase in operating budget in 2015, LJ survey finds

LJ_Budgets_2015

Image credit: Library Journal

According to Library Journal’s latest budget survey, U.S. public libraries continue to recover from the recession, but the pace of that that recovery may be slowing somewhat. Of the 371 libraries that responded to the survey, nearly three-quarters (74%) reported an increase in operating budgets between 2014 and 2015, which is equivalent to the 73% last year who reported the same.

Public library fiscal gains and losses were not equal across the board, however. Similar to the findings from last year, larger libraries (with a few exceptions) tended to see larger increases in their operating, materials, and staffing budgets. Overall, materials budgets saw a 3.7% increase and salary budgets rose 4%. The smallest libraries saw the most meager growth in their funding, a factor that has prevented many libraries serving small towns and rural areas from investing in new technology, providing new programs, or increasing their staff size.

Large libraries, or those that serve more than one million people, have seen the biggest gains since the recession. The materials budgets of large libraries grew more than four times (6.3%) that of the smallest libraries (1.2%) in the past year, and the largest libraries were able to increase the amount of hours they were open. In addition to this, it appears the largest libraries have been able to expand at a much higher rate. While three-quarters of the smallest libraries reported no change in their staffing numbers in the past year, nearly four-fifths (79%) of libraries serving more than one million increased full time equivalent positions by an average of 31 people per system.

This looks pretty promising for the largest libraries (especially those in urban, Southern centers according to the survey), but the benefits of library services continue to be skewed to a particular segment of the population. For those in small towns and rural areas, a shortage of funding can mean that libraries must make difficult decisions, especially regarding technology and outreach, which may leave the populations they serve further behind.

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.

Trends in U.S. Public Library Websites and Social Media

webtech2014

In 2008, we launched a longitudinal study to document the use of various web technologies (e.g., virtual reference, mobile friendliness, social networking, etc.) on the websites of public libraries throughout the U.S. The study was repeated in 2010, 2012, and 2014, expanding on the 2008 findings by tracking the trends in U.S. public libraries over time as well as by examining new technologies as they emerged. Our latest findings, from 2014, indicate that from 2012 to 2014, the percentage of library websites offering any type of mobile-friendly access increased, with the biggest change in libraries serving populations of under 10,000 (71% in 2014 vs. 17% in 2012). Mobile apps were offered by about 3 in 4 libraries serving 500,000+, and nearly 3 in 5 libraries serving under 10,000. About 2 in 5 libraries serving 500,000+ and 1 in 4 libraries serving 10,000-499,999 had websites with URLs that redirected to a mobile site when viewed on a mobile device. And, about 1 in 5 libraries (across all population sizes) had websites that used responsive design.

Find out more about our 2014 study in our Fast Facts reports summarizing highlights for both the U.S. and Colorado, as well as an expanded report that contains the study methodology and charts of all of the findings. And, stay tuned! In 2014, we expanded our study to include academic libraries. Those findings are coming soon.

 

Job postings on LibraryJobline have increased 188% since 2009

2015_LibraryJobline

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.

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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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