LRS’s newest Fast Facts, “Web 2.0 and Colorado Public Libraries: 2010 Update,” highlights the Colorado findings from our 2010 nationwide study of U.S. public libraries and their use of web technologies. Colorado’s results generally mirrored those of libraries nationwide, although it is ahead of its peers in areas such as web presence among libraries that serve less than 10,000 people, and the availability of chat reference service and RSS feeds. One in 3 (34%) Colorado public libraries has a Facebook account, about the same proportion as libraries nationwide. For more information, you can access the Fast Facts at: http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/296_WebTech2010.pdf. Or, to view the complete results of the study, as well as the first iteration of the study (from 2008), go to http://www.lrs.org/public/webtech/
The preliminary data from the Public Library Annual Report is now available on LRS.org. See Colorado Public Library Statistics and Profiles at: http://www.lrs.org/pub_stats.php.
For access to Colorado Public Library Interactive Statistics (LRS-i), use the new interface at: http://www.lrs.org/public/stats.php?year=2010.
For Input-Output Measures, see: http://www.lrs.org/public/cannedstats.php?year=2010.
Over the next 4 weeks I will be conducting second-round edit checks before sending the data to Census for processing and more edit checks. If you have corrections or changes to your library’s data, just drop me an email or give me a call and we can make any necessary modifications.
Note, this year we used the 2010 Census data, as reported by the State Demography Office, for the legal service area (LSA) population figures. Compared with non-census years, some library jurisdictions will see a greater change in their LSA population in census years. Typically, we see population count corrections in census years because in the intervening years between the censuses, population counts are estimated.
Corrections? Problems? Questions? Please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Libraries’ online presence is a constant topic of conversation, with anecdotal insights dominating the discussion. A broader picture of what libraries across the country – and throughout Colorado – are doing with web technologies and web 2.0 tools is a little harder to find. That’s where LRS stepped in with a paint brush.
In spring 2010, LRS staff repeated its observational study (first conducted in 2008) of U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies. We visited the websites of 689 public libraries in the U.S., including all those in Colorado, to see what they were doing with their web presences. Our final report is now ready for your perusal, with some interesting findings related to the use of both older and newer web technologies, as well as the success of the libraries that have adopted these tools.
For starters, take a look at libraries’ use of Facebook. It’s common knowledge that the social networking site is popular around the world, but just two years ago public libraries in the United States had hardly begun to investigate its potential as a way to reach their patrons. Now, 1 in 3 public libraries across the country (32%) have a Facebook account. The chart below shows how much Facebook use has increased in libraries of all sizes since 2008.
While social media sites have taken off in public libraries, adoption of other tools has slowed. Basic web services such as online account access showed little increase, as did email reference and blogs. Chat reference is still the most popular virtual reference tool in Colorado, with a much higher percentage of libraries in the state than in the nation offering the service.
It’s interesting to know what libraries are doing to enhance their web offerings, but do their efforts go unrewarded? Based on our analysis of “Early Adopters” – those libraries that scored in the top 20 percent of their population groups on our index of Web 2.0 technology adoption – libraries that were experimenting with these features reported higher numbers for traditional measures of library success, such as visits and circulation (see the chart below). This was true for almost all inputs and outputs – everything from staffing and funding to reference questions and program attendance.
Yes, it is true that overall, Early Adopters enjoyed more resources—human and financial—than non-early adopters, which logically makes it easier for them to invest in more and newer web technologies. But even when controlling for staff and collection expenditures, Early Adopter status was still a significant predictor of higher visits, circulation, and program attendance. Furthermore, libraries that were Early Adopters in the first study experienced greater increases than non-early adopters in visits and circulation between 2008 and 2010.
Check out the full report for more details on what libraries are up to with their websites and online presences: U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2010. Coming soon is a brief Fast Facts highlighting the Colorado results. Questions or comments? We’d love to hear them!
Attn: Public Library Directors & PLAR Respondents
Preliminary data from the 2010 Public Library Annual Report (PLAR) is now available in an Excel spreadsheet and ready for your review. There is still time for revisions, so please let me know if you have any changes to your library’s data. A more current version of the data will be available on LRS-i the last week in April.
Please note, this preliminary data does not include complete data for libraries that had not submitted reports prior to March 23, 2011. In addition, the data is not verified (i.e., it has not been through all phases of edit checks).
LRS is excited to announce the release of our most recent Closer Look report, “The Impact of the Recession on Public Library Use in Colorado.” We examined Colorado public library use prior to and after the recession’s onset. Our findings indicated that from 2006 to 2007 (prior to the recession), visits per capita, circulation per capita, program attendance per 1,000 served, and Internet computer use per capita remained relatively static or decreased in Colorado public libraries.
In contrast, visits, circulation, and program attendance all increased during the recession (from 2007 to 2009) by at least 11 percent for libraries serving large communities (populations of 25,000 or more). Higher use during this period was also seen in resort communities. Visits, circulation, program attendance, and Internet computer use all increased by between 6 percent and 28 percent in public libraries serving these communities. Libraries serving small communities (populations under 25,000) were not included in the study because of missing and anomalous data.
Public libraries have been a key resource for Coloradans during both the recession and the post-recession recovery period, providing community gathering space, access to entertainment and educational resources, and information about job hunting, economizing, and other topics that are particularly relevant during this time.
Find the report as well as a Fast Facts highlighting key findings at http://www.lrs.org/recession.php
The Public Library Funding & Technology Access Survey has released state level data and you can find the Colorado report at: http://www.plinternetsurvey.org/?q=node/32&&id=CO&&u. In addition, there are state briefs on E-Government and Employment in public libraries.
Public Libraries & the Internet: http://www.plinternetsurvey.org/?q=Home-Page
It’s no secret that we like numbers here at LRS. Give us a rich data set and we will get lost in it for days. However, we also recognize the power of good stories to resonate with people on a deeper level than numbers often do. Take Olly Neal’s story, for example. In the late 1950s, Olly was a high school senior in Arkansas who liked to cut class and get in fights. One day, he was in the school library and noticed a book by African American author Frank Yerby. While it interested him, he was concerned that if anyone saw him checking it out, they would tell his friends he liked to read and then his reputation would be ruined. So, he hid the book under his jacket and walked out. After finishing the book, he returned to the library to sneak it back on the shelf, was pleasantly surprised to discover another Yerby title there, and snuck that one out as well. This process repeated itself several times over the course of the semester.
Thirteen years later, Olly ran into his school librarian while attending his high school reunion, and she told him she had spotted him when he “stole” his first Yerby book. Initially, she wondered why he was trying to smuggle the book out of the library when he could check it out for free. But soon she caught on to his motives, and decided to encourage his budding interest in reading any way she could. Unfortunately, the works of African American authors were not widely available during that time period, and neither the school library nor the other local libraries had additional Yerby titles. So, she drove to a library in Memphis to pick up another Yerby title for him to read. She repeated this process each time he took out a book. Olly credits his school librarian, and the extraordinary efforts she made on his behalf, with getting him interested in reading. This interest set him on a path that ultimately led to his acceptance to law school. Today, Olly is a judge for the 1st Judicial District in eastern Arkansas.
Do you have a story about how your library has impacted you or someone you know? Share it here.
Every year, LRS collects information from Colorado public libraries on challenges to their materials and services. Nearly 1 in 5 libraries reported a total of 48 challenges in 2009, the lowest number in a decade. For more details on the reasons for and results of those challenges, read our latest Fast Facts: Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2009.
~ Jamie H.
American Libraries will be publishing Jamie Helgren’s (DU-LRS Research Fellow) article on the Future of the Book in their January/February issue. See the article, “Booking to the Future” online now at: http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/features/11302010/booking-future.
This article is based on the LRS 60-Second Survey: The Future of the Book conducted earlier this year. Several LRS staff members contributed to the analysis of the data and you can see more about the survey results on the LRS blog and in two Fast Facts issues.
- Overview of findings: http://www.lrs.org/news/2010/01/19/results_from_the_60-second_survey_the_future_of_the_book/
- Fast Facts: http://www.lrs.org/fastfacts/index.php?year=2010
Jamie’s is the cover article for the Jan/Feb issue of American Libraries. Browse the issue and read the article at: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/e8e0bcae#/e8e0bcae/1
Colorado’s “star” libraries include:
Fleming Community Library
Denver Public Library
San Miguel Library District # 1/Telluride
Swink School/Public Library
La Veta Regional Library District
Douglas County Libraries
Ridgway Library District
Pitkin County Library
“The LJ Index of Public Library Service 2010, Library Journal’s national rating of public libraries, identifies 258 “star” libraries. Created by Ray Lyons and Keith Curry Lance, and based on 2008 data from the IMLS, it rates 7,407 public libraries. The top libraries in each group get five, four, or three stars. All included libraries, stars or not, can use their scores to learn from their peers, expand service to their communities, and advocate for support.” More at: http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/articlereview/886935-457/americas_star_libraries_2010_top-rated.html.csp