Are you ready for a data adventure?

We’re excited to announce that the next Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) national event will occur July 12-15, 2020, at the Eaglewood Resort in the Chicago suburb of Itasca, Illinois.

RIPL began in 2015 as an immersive, bootcamp-style event for public library staff to learn practical methods for gathering, analyzing, and using data for planning, management, and communicating impact. Now, after 3 national events and more than 25 regional events, it’s time for the next wave.

At the 2020 national event, we will debut a new curriculum and format, tailored to meeting the needs of those just getting started with data and evaluation as well as data geeks, and for people new to RIPL as well as RIPL alumni. Longer breakout sessions (2.5 hours) will enable participants to explore topics in more depth. What’s not changing? Hands-on, experiential learning; an immersive, camp-like experience (with better accommodations!); and the opportunity to connect with instructors and library staff from around the US and beyond who are passionate about creating data-powered libraries.

The RIPL 2020 website is now live and provides information about the registration fee and other details: https://ripl.lrs.org/2020/. Registration will open February 3, 2020.

RIPL 2020 and RIPL Regional Opportunities:

We will be selecting up to 15 people to serve as facilitators at RIPL 2020. Both RIPL alumni and those who are new to the event are welcome to apply. You can find out more information about this opportunity here. The application deadline is November 22, 2019.

Do you work in a rural and small public library and want to attend RIPL 2020? Fifteen scholarships are available to staff working in rural and small libraries that cover the registration fee, lodging, all meals during the event, and up to $500 in travel expenses. Learn more about this opportunity here. The application deadline is November 22, 2019.

Don’t want to wait until summer 2020 to attend a RIPL event? We have regional events this winter/spring in Paradise Valley, Arizona (January 22-23, 2020) and Columbia, South Carolina (March 31-April 1, 2020). Regional events are scaled-down versions of the national events (2 days, 2-4 instructors, and up to 75 participants), that provide the training necessary to begin using data and evaluation for managing, planning, and communicating impact. Registration opens November 1 for both events.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

2019 Colorado Health Survey finds that one in seven Coloradans needed mental health treatment but didn’t get it

The 2019 Colorado Health Access Survey, administered by the Colorado Health Institute, found that “one in seven Coloradans (13.5%) say they have needed mental health treatment but didn’t get it.” This survey randomly samples 10,000 Colorado households every two years. In 2017, the percentage of Coloradans reporting they did not receive needed mental health treatment was 8%. The percentage of Coloradans who report having experienced prolonged poor mental health (8 or more days in the past month) also increased from 12% in 2017 to 15% in 2019. The latest State Demography Office’s estimate of Colorado’s 2019 population is a little over 5.5 million people, and these survey data indicate that more than 840,000 of those people have experienced a mental health issue in the past month.  

Coloradans face barriers to accessing mental health services. The nonpartisan newspaper Colorado Politics recently published an in-depth article about these barriers, and cited cost and issues with insurance as major challenges. They reported that psychiatrists, who prescribe medication, are particularly difficult to get appointments with due to high demand. They also reported that according to Mental Health Colorado “patients in Colorado go out of network for mental health and addiction treatment seven times more often than for physical care.” This leads to a higher cost of care. Governor Jared Polis recently signed State House Bill 1269 to try to improve access to behavioral health services in Colorado.

Libraries nationwide have been building partnerships and creating programs to address mental health services gaps in their communities. Library Journal recently featured several initiatives and suggests best practices for serving people with mental health issues. A great starting point for libraries is the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) document “People with Mental Health Issues: What You Need To Know.”  Some libraries are also training staff in Mental Health First Aid, a program offered by the National Council for Behavioral Health, which teaches techniques for working with people in crisis, including referring to appropriate community resources beyond the library.   

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.

Two years of preschool creates positive impact 50 years later

Image credit: Heckman

A longitudinal study of the impacts of preschool participation found that the study participants as well as their children experienced a variety of positive outcomes. The original participants had lower rates of crime, higher rates of employment, better health, and better executive function than the control group over the course of their lives. Children of the original preschool participants had a better chance of completing high school without suspension, never being arrested, and being employed full time compared to the children of the control group. The control group did not attend preschool and had similar social and economic backgrounds.

The study began in the 1960s, and the participants attended preschool for 2.5 hours a day during the school year for two years when they were 3 and 4 years old. The program also included weekly home visits. The curriculum used in the preschool was focused on active learning and intensive child-teacher interactions. Children also planned, carried out, and reviewed their own activities.

Although the sample size is small (123), the study’s author, economist James Heckman, used rigorous statistical analysis to account for this limitation. The original preschool participants, now in their 50’s, lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan and were selected to participate based on being African-American, having a low-IQ, and being disadvantaged based on parental employment level, parental education, and housing density (persons per room). Participants were randomly assigned to be part of a preschool program or have no treatment.

Libraries can apply these findings to their practices by continuing to incorporate elements of high quality preschool school, like these ideas from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC): balancing group activities and instruction guided by the teacher with activities children choose themselves, paying attention to and supporting children’s interests, skills, and knowledge, and encouraging children’s efforts by making specific comments.

Libraries can also continue to support parents and caregivers by providing guidance on how to incorporate these strategies at home. Additionally, libraries could offer a preschool-like experience led by library staff where the caregiver stays and participates with their child.

The full report from James Heckman and his colleagues can be found here. For more information about high quality preschool, please visit NAEYC. To find quality ratings for Colorado preschool programs, Colorado Shines rates all licensed programs in Colorado.

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 Jobline posts a record 815 jobs in 2018

Library Jobline, LRS’s website for library job postings and resources, broke its own record again for the number of jobs posted in 2018 while the number of job seekers and job posters continued to rise. Data collected from the Library Jobline website are highlighted in the most recent Fast Facts report.

In 2018 employers posted 815 jobs to Library Jobline, 114 more total jobs than were posted in 2017. January and April tied for Jobline’s busiest months, with 83 new jobs posted in each. Like in previous years, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the jobs posted were located in Colorado. The number of full-time jobs posted decreased slightly, from over three-quarters (78%) in 2017 to about 7 in 10 (69%) in 2018. The majority of jobs posted were in public libraries (68%), followed by academic libraries (19%), “other” (9%), institutional libraries (2%), and school libraries (2%).

Average hourly salaries for both school ($22.37) and academic ($23.28) library positions rose by at least $1/hour in 2018. The average hourly salary for public library positions dropped slightly to $21.98. Like in 2017, about a third (35%) of the jobs posted required a MLIS degree, while a little under half (45%) preferred a MLIS.

Subscriptions to Library Jobline continued to grow, adding 288 new jobseekers and 155 new employers in 2017. This led to more than 1,000,000 emails with job opportunities sent to job seekers – that’s more than 2,500 emails per day!

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 3,000 jobseekers and more than 1,100 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.

OSU study estimates that children who are read to every day hear 1.4 million more words by age 5

A study recently published by Ohio State University researchers in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics found that young children whose parents frequently read to them could enter kindergarten having heard an estimated 1.4 million more words than children who were rarely or never read to. The researchers propose that more book reading sessions with young children is one way to address the 30 million word gap.

The researchers worked with the Columbus Metropolitan Library to identify the 100 most circulated books for babies and young children, which the researchers used to determine an average of how many words were found in each book. They found that board books intended for babies contain an average of 140 words and children’s picture books contain an average of 228 words.

Based on these estimates, children whose parents read to them once every other month would hear 4,662 words from books by age 5. One to 2 reading sessions per week lead to children hearing 63,570 words; 3-5 sessions per week, 169,520 words; daily, 296,660 words; and five books a day, 1,483,300 words. The estimated word gap from reading sessions is different from the conversational word gap mentioned above because reading books can expose children to words and topics that do not typically come up in daily conversation.

The full article can be found here, but is behind a paywall. A more in depth summary of the article 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.

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.