Archive for the Public Category

What questions do states add to the national Public Libraries Survey?

The annual Institute of Museum and Library Services Public Libraries Survey (PLS) contains 102 questions that all US public libraries complete. However, most states ask additional questions as well. The topics of these questions have been of great interest to public library data stakeholders for a variety of reasons, including that they may be the first indicators of new trends.

As part of the Measures that Matter initiative, Ithaka S+R conducted an analysis of state-added questions. The researchers found that states added an average of 180 questions to the PLS, with the most common topics including operating expenditures, human resources, services, governance, and operating revenues. To learn more, check out the full report and supporting documents:

Measures that Matter Action Plan Step 2.1: A Review of State Public Library Survey Data Elements (Full Report)

Inventory of State-Added Elements to the PLS

How to Use the Inventory for State-Added Elements to the PLS

 

Scholastic survey finds that 95% of parents believe that every child should have access to a school and public library

Image credit: Scholastic

Scholastic recently published a report highlighting the importance of summer reading for children as part of their biennial Kids & Family Reading Report. The report explores attitudes and behaviors towards reading using information gathered during a national survey of children ages 6-17 and their parents, and parents of kids ages 0-5.

The report reveals both parent and child attitudes towards summer reading. Nearly all (94%) parents agree that reading over the summer helps their child during the school year, but only about half (53%) are aware of the “summer slide” that is largely due to lack of reading. Children are also aware of the importance of reading – about three-quarters (77%) agree that reading over the summer helps them in school.

The children who responded to the survey read an average of nine books for fun in the summer of 2018 and 3 in 5 (59%) say that they “really enjoy” reading books over the summer in addition to the academic benefits. When asked why they enjoyed summer reading, 7 in 10 (70%) children say they like having the power to choose what and when to read. About half (53%) view reading in the summer as an enjoyable way to pass the time, and half (52%) say that they also read in order to keep their brains active.

The most common places that children get books are schools (53%) and public libraries (50%). Perhaps because of this, nearly all parents say they believe that every child needs to have a school library (95%) and every community needs to have a public library (95%).

The full Kids & Family Reading 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.

Library Journal survey finds that public library circulation has dipped slightly (0.5%) for the first time since 1999

Image credit: Library Journal

Library Journal recently released the results of its annual materials survey tracking circulation statistics in public libraries nationwide.

Materials circulation in public libraries decreased by half a percent (0.5%) in 2018, falling, though only slightly, for the first time since 1999. Two in 5 (40%) survey respondents reported that they saw their circulation decrease. Nearly 3 in 5 (57%) items circulated in 2018 were books, 1 in 10 (9%) were ebooks, and about a third (31%) were other media like audiobooks, DVD/Blu-ray, music CDs, and streaming media. Book and ebook circulation both increased from 2017 to 2018, while netted media circulation decreased.

Like in previous years the majority of materials circulated
were fiction (64%). Nonfiction made up a little over a third (36%) of items
circulated. Half (51%) of items circulated were adult materials, 2 in 5 (41%)
were children’s materials, and about 1 in 12 (8%) were items for young adults.

The fiction genres that respondents cited as their top 5
most popular print book circulators were mystery/suspense (95%), general
fiction (81%), thrillers (72%), romance (63%), and Christian fiction (41%). The
genre order changes slightly for ebook circulation – mystery/suspense is still
the most popular (84%), but romance moves up to second (79%), thrillers remain
in third (77%), and historical and literary fiction, not present in the print
top five, are tied for fourth (both at 35%).

In print nonfiction, cooking reclaimed its top spot as the
most popular circulator in 2018, with 4 in 5 (82%) respondents ranking it in
their top 5. Rounding out the most popular print circulators were
biography/memoir (74%), self-help/psychology (50%), history (48%), and
medicine/health (40%). Like in the fiction rankings, nonfiction genre
popularity changes for ebook circulation. Biography/memoir (89%),
self-help/psychology (67%), and history (61%) are still popular, while cooking
drops to 6th place (29%). Current events/politics (46%) and
fitness/weight loss (33%) are more popular in ebook format than in print.

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.

8 in 10 School Library Journal survey respondents think it is “very important” to have diverse children’s and young adult collections

Image credit: School Library Journal

School Library Journal recently published the results of a survey asking librarians about diversity in their children’s and young adult book collections. The survey administrators defined a diverse collection as one with books that feature “protagonists and experiences involving under-represented ethnicities, disabilities, cultural or religious backgrounds, gender nonconformity, or LGBTQIA+ orientations.”

Out of the 1,156 school and public librarians who responded to the survey, 8 in 10 say that it is “very important” to develop a diverse book collection for children and teens. Nearly three-quarters (72%) consider it a personal mission to create a diverse collection for their patrons. Many librarians have institutional support as well – about half of respondents working in both public (54%) and school (50%) libraries have school- or district-wide collection development goals that focus on inclusive collections.

Librarians are putting their beliefs into practice when it comes to buying books for their collections. About two-thirds (68%) of respondents report purchasing more diverse children’s and young adult books in the past year than in previous years. Nearly all (98%) of the librarians who responded say that they are involved in the recommendation or purchasing process of children’s and young adult books for their collections, and more than 4 in 5 (84%) have the final say on which books are purchased.

While the respondents enjoy some power when it comes to diversifying their collections, it does not come without difficulty. More than 1 in 10 (13%) find it “difficult” or “very difficult” to find diverse children’s and young adult titles, particularly those featuring Native or Indigenous peoples, English Language Learners, and characters with disabilities. Aside from difficulty finding books, about 1 in 7 (15%) respondents say that they chose not to buy a book with diverse characters because of the potential that the book might be challenged.

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.

IMLS report finds that there were 1.39 billion public library visits in FY 2015

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently published a report detailing the FY2015 results of the national Public Libraries Survey. This report focuses on the financial health, library use, resources, and staffing of public libraries around the country.

IMLS uses two measures to determine the financial health of public libraries: total operating expenditures (how much libraries spend) and total operating revenue (how much money libraries receive in order to run the library). Both of these financial measures have been increasing since 2012 and are creeping closer to pre-recession levels of nearly $13 billion –operating revenue reached $12.42 billion in FY2015 and operating expenditures reached $11.62 billion. Nationwide, this means that public libraries received about $39.94 per capita and spent about $37.38 per capita, although these numbers vary widely by state. In Colorado, public libraries received $56.91 per capita and spent $52.15 per capita, placing Colorado in the top quarter of states for both financial measures.

Library resources also rose nationally between FY2014 and FY2015, from 3.78 items per capita to 4.28 items per capita. Circulation averaged out to about 7.3 items per capita, although numbers were higher in cities and suburbs than in towns and rural areas. E-resource usage saw the most growth in FY2015. E-book use rose by more than half (53%) and use of audio materials saw a similar rise (44%).

Although materials usage remained steady, physical library visits dropped slightly in FY2015. There were 1.39 billion total public library visits nationwide, or about 4.48 visits per capita, down from 4.64 per capita visits in FY2014. However, program attendance increased by 5 million people in FY2015. Colorado is one of 8 states that had more than 6 public library visits per capita (6.14) and was one of 15 states that had more than 450 attendees for every 1,000 people served attend a public library program (504.5).

The entire Public Libraries Survey Report can be found here, and state profile infographics are here. The associated Library Search & Compare tool allows users to look up their own library’s information and compare it with similar libraries.

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.

Reported challenges in Colorado’s public libraries nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017

LRS’s latest Fast Facts report summarizes the results of our annual investigation into the materials that are challenged in public libraries across Colorado. This Fast Facts details the number, type, and reasons for the challenges reported in the 2017 Public Library Annual Report. The information that public libraries provided to us about these challenges help demonstrate the attitude toward intellectual freedom in Colorado now and over time.

The number of challenges reported in Colorado nearly doubled from last year, rising from 22 challenges reported in 2016 to 41 challenges in 2017. It is unclear whether this is due to an actual increase in the challenges that occurred, or if it is a result of more thorough reporting. Despite the increase this year, the number of reported challenges has dropped 47% in the past ten years.

Keeping consistent with previous years, adult materials were challenged more often than children’s and young adult (YA) materials. About half (47%) of the materials challenged were intended for adults. Challenges for YA and children’s materials switched places, with YA challenges making up about a third (34%) of reported challenges, and children’s materials in a close third at 28%. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of all challenges resulted in no change, which has been the most common result since 2008.

The top reason for a reported challenge was Unsuited to Age Group, making up nearly a third (31%) of reported challenges, replacing Sexually Explicit (25%), which had been the top reason for challenges since 2012. Offensive Language (19%), Other (19%), and Insensitivity (16%) rounded out the top five reasons for a challenge in 2017.

Books were challenged more often than videos for the first time since 2014, accounting for about 3 in 5 (63%) of the reported challenges. Videos made up a quarter (25%) of reported challenges while computer (6%) and periodical (6%) challenges made up the rest.

For more results from the Public Library Challenges Survey, check out the full 2017 Challenged Materials in Public Libraries Fast Facts report. And, more information about intellectual freedom issues in libraries 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.

Library Journal and SirsiDynix find that 2 in 5 public libraries offer a mobile device app to their patrons

App design for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina

Library Journal, in collaboration with SirsiDynix, recently conducted a survey of 618 public libraries to gather information about mobile device trends in libraries. Their report reveals the increasing use of mobile-friendly websites and apps in public libraries.

Out of the libraries that responded to the survey, about 2 in 5 (37%) currently offer a mobile app to their patrons and nearly three-quarters (72%) have a website that is optimized for use on mobile devices. Libraries serving more than 500,000 patrons were more likely to respond that they have an app, resulting in about 7 in 10 (69%) larger libraries compared to a little less than a quarter (22%) of smaller libraries. Mobile optimization of the library website is more consistent across library sizes; 2 in 3 (65%) smaller libraries described their website as mobile-friendly and about three-quarters (74%-77%) of larger libraries said the same.

Library apps serve varying purposes for each library, but nearly all (97%) of the responding libraries reported that their library provides mobile access to the library’s catalog. Catalog access is by far the most common app functionality, followed by a library event calendar (68%), ebook and audiobook checkout (60%), and mobile library card/digital barcode (60%). Respondents also clarified the functionalities that they want their apps to offer, including fine payment (69%), library event calendars (62%), and remote sign-up for events or library cards (51%).

Libraries reported that about 1 in 10 (12%) library users have actually downloaded the library’s app to their smartphone or tablet. About 2 in 5 (38%) acknowledged that their app appeals to certain patrons, including young adults, students, and “everyone but seniors.” These audiences could influence how libraries market their apps. Most respondents said that their apps were advertised via the library website (64%) and on social media (30%). Less off-line marketing took place, but some respondents advertised the app using posters (19%), newsletters (12%), and bookmarks (6%).

For more survey results, 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.

Library Journal survey finds noticeable differences in genre popularity between print books and ebooks

Library Journal recently published the results of its Materials Survey 2018, an annual survey that gathers materials expenditure and circulation data from public libraries across the United States.

Although print book circulation has dropped in the past few years, print book purchases still make up over half (54%) of public libraries’ materials budgets, while netted media (audiobooks, DVDs/Blu-rays, and streaming media) used a little under one-third (30%) of the budget and ebooks used about a tenth (9%). Within netted media spending, audiobook spending rose 16% across all of the responding libraries, including a notable rise in downloadable audio.  Included for the first time on this survey, streaming media used 2% of the materials budget.

Librarians noted a few shifts in the types of print books that were popular among borrowers, most notably in non-fiction. Biography/memoir is now the most-circulated genre of non-fiction, knocking cookbooks down from an 8-year streak at the top. History circulation dropped by 12% and self-help/psychology dropped 20% since last year’s survey. In print fiction, mysteries remained the most popular while romance and Christian fiction circulation slipped down 12% and 14%, respectively.

About 3 in 5 (58%) respondents reported that ebook circulation increased at their library in the past year, although patrons tend to read different genres than they do in print. Like in print fiction, mystery and general fiction are the most circulated genres. However, they aren’t quite as popular as they are in print, and ebook circulation dropped in 2017. Meanwhile, romance ebook circulation rose by 8% and sci-fi/fantasy circulation increased by 18%. Like print nonfiction, biography/memoir is the most popular ebook genre. Politics/current events rocketed up to second place from a distant fourth last year, compared to being in sixth place among print circulation. History, in fifth place for print circulation, took third place in ebook circulation.

For more information, 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.

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