LJ Financial Literacy Survey suggests over half of library cardholders would attend financial literacy training (if they knew about it)

LJ_Financial_Literacy

Image credit: Library Journal

As the variety of program topics increases in public libraries, financial literacy training has emerged as a common topic in many libraries, especially since the recession. Financial literacy training seeks to educate and provide strategies about how to manage one’s money and prepare for financial planning. Yet Library Journal’s 2015 Financial Literacy Survey suggests that these services are not being used by cardholders as much as they could be.

Out of 10 options, libraries ranked last as a source of financial information among the 1,466 library cardholders surveyed across 230 libraries. Just under one-fifth (18%) of those surveyed ranked it as a possible source, even though well over half (61%) of librarians surveyed said that they offered financial services.

Library Journal proposes that the biggest challenge to public libraries is actually getting the word out about financial literacy training, since their survey indicated that more people would likely attend these events if only they knew about them. More than half (55%) of those surveyed said they would be willing to attend financial programming if they knew about it, and in addition to that an overwhelming majority (87%) said they trust financial information they receive from public libraries.

The good news is that any public library can create financial literacy programming that is both inexpensive and appeals to patrons. One librarian surveyed was able to put on a week-long programming event for just $200. The survey also found that programming that integrated financial training for children saw higher attendance, a proactive strategy that helps to develop financial literacy early on in life while also opening up conversation among adults.

Get ideas for how your public library can jump-start its financial literacy programming, and read the full report, 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.

Congratulations to the 7 Colorado Star Libraries for 2015!

starlibraries2015

Image credit: Library Journal

7 libraries in Colorado have been named Star Libraries by the 2015 Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. Colorado ranks 11th out of 41 states with star libraries, and is tied with three other states (Indiana, Alabama, and Missouri) that also have 7 star libraries. The 7 star libraries in Colorado are:

  • Arapahoe Library District
  • Denver Public Library
  • Douglas County Libraries
  • Holyoke/Heginbotham Library
  • La Veta Regional Library District
  • Limon Memorial Library
  • San Miguel Library District #1 (Telluride)

Although a few libraries that were Colorado star libraries last year are no longer represented on the list, Holyoke/Higenbotham is a new addition to the star library cohort this year.

The LJ Index, which is used to determine star libraries around the country, is a measure that compares public libraries with others that have similar expenditures based on the output measures of circulation, library visits, program attendance, and public internet computer use. Output measures (as opposed to other measures used for library assessment, inputs and outcomes), are quantifiable measures of various services that the library renders. These outputs are based on data provided by public libraries in the IMLS Public Library Survey.

The kinds of outputs measured by the LJ Index have begun and will continue to change over the next several years. For example, the 2015 star library ratings are the first to include e-circulation as part of its measures, and the 2016 ratings will be the first to account for all reference transactions, including virtual. This is an attempt to control for the fact that many library visits and services today are virtual as opposed to physical. Another factor that will affect the star library ratings in the coming years is increasing competition; more libraries than ever before, a whopping 7,663, were scored on the LJ Index in 2015.

This year’s report also includes a handy how-to on DIY LJ Index projects, so you can figure out how to leverage the index data to evaluate how your library stacks up against its peers. Whether or not your library was named a star library this year, you can find all of the data 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.

 

LJ reports that more than four-fifths of new library graduates are employed full time, up 19% from 2013

LJ_Salaries2015

Image credit: Library Journal

Library Journal has released the findings from their 2015 Placement & Salaries Survey, which tracks yearly trends in employment among newly graduated MLIS students. In 2014, out of 4,331 estimated library school graduates, 32% participated in Library Journal’s survey. The results show an overall increase in full-time employment among new graduates, as well as steadily increasing salaries, though many new librarians are frustrated at the rigor of the application process and the number of available entry-level positions that actually require an MLIS degree.

The number of new library school graduates with full-time employment increased from 70% in 2013 to 83% in 2014. What’s more, those new graduates are earning even more starting off; starting salaries increased 2.9% from 2013, to $46,987. Women’s salaries increased slightly more than men’s as well, which represents a modest gain in closing the gender wage gap, though men continue to earn 14.9% more than women.

Of course, all regions and job titles are not experiencing these trends equally. The Pacific reported the highest average salaries, while the Southeast had the lowest, and the Northeast and Midwest were close to the average. These differences did, however, correspond closely to standard cost of living differences. One shift across the board is the fact that the highest paid positions are increasingly ones with non-traditional titles – positions that contain phrases such as “software developer,” “usability designer,” “data analyst,” etc. Meanwhile, many new graduates expressed frustration that some other full-time positions did not appear to require an MLIS at all

You can peruse all of Library Journal’s data on salaries and placement 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.

Join us at CAL for “Data Visualization for the Rest of Us: A Beginner’s Guide”

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Will you be at the CAL Conference on Friday? If so, we hope you will join us for:

Data Visualization for the Rest of Us: A Beginner’s Guide

Friday, October 23, 10:30 AM-12:15 PM, Aspen Daisy

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to present your library statistics in a way that effectively communicates value. In this session, straight from the 2015 Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL), you’ll learn quick and easy tips for displaying your statistics in a way that tells a powerful story about your library, whether your data visualization aspirations consist of adding a few Excel charts to a board report or designing a complex infographic for your website. As part of this session, several free and/or low-cost infographic creation software tools will be demonstrated.

The Digital Inclusion Survey finds that 9 out of 10 public libraries offer general Internet usage training

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Image credit: Digital Inclusion Survey

The Digital Inclusion Survey recently released new data and issue briefs that deal with a wide range of technology based services in public libraries, from access to e-government. The survey tracks trends and advances in the “access, adoption, and application” of digital resources in their effort to promote the importance of equitable technology access to the future of communities.

Their issue brief on digital literacy reports that 9 out of 10 public libraries in the U.S. (90%) at least offer training in general Internet usage. In fact, there is little gap in the number of libraries that provide basic technology services in suburban areas (93%) and those that do so in rural areas (87%).

Public libraries today have an average of 19 public access computers (including laptops), and many trainings now include workforce development and mobile technologies. Overwhelmingly though, libraries favor informal point-of-use interactions – four-fifths (79%) of libraries indicate they use this method, compared to the 39% that offer formal trainings.

Yet public libraries are not without challenges in providing digital literacy service to their communities. A lack of infrastructure, funding, and staff expertise can all be major hurdles. For example, the Digital Inclusion Survey found a direct association between libraries that had undergone major renovations in the past year (21% of public libraries) and their ability to provide technology training. Attention to the space of the library itself, it seems, may be an indicator of the energy and assets put into emerging digital services.

You can access all of the Digital Inclusion Survey’s 2015 issue briefs 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.

 

Number of materials challenges in Colorado public libraries continues slow decline, falling by 3% since 2013

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As part of our yearly investigation into the materials that are challenged in public libraries in Colorado, our latest Fast Facts delves into detail concerning the format, audience, reason, and resolution of the materials challenges that were reported in the 2014 Public Library Annual Report. Information provided about these challenges help us to gauge the climate of intellectual freedom in Colorado public libraries over time.

So how did Colorado libraries fare in 2014? The total number of challenges over the years continues its overall downward trend. This trend has recently leveled out somewhat, however, since the number of challenges decreased by only 3% from 2013 to 2014. Several factors remained consistent from previous years, including the most common audience for challenged materials, adults, which represented the audience for three-quarters (76%) of challenges in 2014. There was also little change in the manner in which challenges were handled by the library; for the majority of challenges, no changes were made at all, meaning that the items were not reclassified, moved, or removed. While “sexually explicit” and “violence” remained two of the most cited reasons for the challenge, “other,” non-categorized reasons continue to rise.

An interesting shift taking place is the most common format of challenged materials. In 2014, videos eclipsed books as the most challenged format, at 36% of the total challenges. Book and computer challenges each represented another third (32%) of the challenges. Yet the percent of challenges to books has declined by more than a third (36%) since 2013. The cause of these changes is not clear, but could be related to an increased diversity in the kinds of formats offered by public libraries, and/or changes in how formats are perceived by individuals.

Take a look at all of the data and trends from 2014 in the full Colorado Public Libraries Challenges Fast Facts report.

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.

Pew survey finds that almost a third of Americans are in favor of fewer book shelves, though libraries themselves remain central to communities.

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Image credit: Pew Research

Pew Research Center’s new report on the state of America’s libraries declares that libraries are approaching a watershed moment of change. Pew based this conclusion off of two central questions from its survey of 2,004 Americans over the age of 16 – Firstly, what should happen to the books that traditionally populated libraries, and secondly, what should happen to the buildings themselves?

It appears that Americans are getting more comfortable with the idea of a library with fewer books. 30% of survey respondents say libraries should “definitely” move books to make way for more space and services, compared to 20% in 2012. A quarter (25%) said libraries should “definitely not” do this, and 40% were on the fence. However, it appears that Americans are nowhere near ready to forgo the library space as a whole. Nearly two-thirds (64%) thought libraries should definitely still have a physical location.

So what does this mean for the future of library books? Public libraries are likely to remain popular community centers and resources for job preparation, but books will also remain a central part of their M.O. Some print book collections may decline, but the formats offered by libraries continue to get increasingly diverse. The Pew survey also found that e-book lending is growing – though the number seems small, 6% of respondents have borrowed an e-book, and 38% are aware that they are offered.

Yet even with the growth in popularity of electronic resources (90% of public libraries now have e-lending programs!), the Pew survey respondents don’t indicate that Americans are ready to go full e-book. Almost half (46%) still aren’t aware of whether or not their library offers e-books. Even more concerning, respondents with the least education and household income reported higher than average declines in library use. This means that despite rapid growth in tech-based services and resources, it will be essential for libraries to continue their quest to close the gap in digital literacy and awareness.

Want to hear more about the state of public libraries? You can access the full Pew report 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.

Colorado ranked 22nd in 0-18 children’s well-being

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Image credit: ZERO TO THREE

The nonprofit early development organization ZERO TO THREE recently released updated State Baby Facts factsheets about the status of infants, toddlers, and families across the country. Early literacy is just one piece of the early childhood education and development picture, so these factsheets are useful tools to help libraries and other early literacy organizations to understand current poverty, health, and early learning data and how their states compare nationally.

Here are some highlights from Colorado’s factsheet:

  • More than 1 in 4 (21%) Colorado infants and toddlers live at less than 100% of the federal poverty level.
  • One in 10 babies is born preterm, and 9% of babies have low birth weight in Colorado.
  • More than a quarter (27%) of Colorado children younger than 3 experience residential mobility (e.g., multiple moves).
  • Coloradans are doing better than the national averages for several early learning activities (perhaps libraries have a role to play in that?):
    • Well over half (57%) of parents or family members read to their 0-5-year-old each day.
    • More than 3 in 5 (63%) parents or family members tell stories and sing to their 0-5-year-old each day.
  • At the same time, the cost of infant childcare for Colorado single mothers is nearly half (48%) of their income.

Looking for practical tips to make your library more supportive of families with young children? Check out the research-tested SPELL Blueprint model which outlines activities and recommendations from the Supporting Parents in Early Literacy Through Libraries (SPELL) project.

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.

2013 Public Libraries Survey data now available

Image credit: Public Libraries Survey, IMLS

Image credit: Public Libraries Survey, IMLS

Brand-new national public library data is now available from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Fiscal year 2013 data from the annual Public Libraries Survey has just been added to the IMLS Compare Public Libraries and Search for Public Libraries tools. Try out the compare tool to see how your library stacks up to similar libraries across the country based on characteristics you choose. And the search tool is an easy way to pull together staff, budget, services, and collection information for any public library in the U.S.

Data files for FY2013 should be available soon!

52% of U.S. public libraries have at least one librarian on staff with an ALA-MLS degree

PLS FY2012_print release

Image credit: IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently sent print copies of its Public Libraries in the United States Report for Fiscal Year 2012 to all state libraries. This is the final result of the statistics and data gathered by state libraries into the Public Libraries Survey (PLS), and here in Colorado through the Public Library Annual Report (PLAR) which wrapped up data collection for 2014 earlier this spring.

We’ve shared some highlights with you earlier this year, but these data are too rich not to share more! Here are a few more stats that help show some interesting relationships between library services:

  • Having e-books in the library collection resulted in an average increase of 1.5 visits per capita (and libraries with e-books had significantly higher rates of circulation per capita than those without)
  • For each $1 spent on electronic materials per capita, 1 more item circulated for every 2 people in the library’s legal service area
  • The number of public access Internet computers has gone up 76% in the past 10 years
  • Funding from local governments has gone up by 7% in the past 10 years
  • Suburban (7.1) and rural (6.7) libraries had higher visit rates per capita than libraries in cities (5.6) or towns (6.1)
  • Circulation per capita was significantly higher (9.3) in libraries serving fewer than 2,500 people than in larger libraries

You can check out the Public Libraries in the United States Report for Fiscal Year 12 in full here. And, preliminary data for Colorado’s 2014 PLAR is available now in our interactive tool.

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.