Measuring Social and Emotional Learning Competencies in a Summer Learning Program

 

Denver Public Library (DPL), in collaboration with Library Research Service (LRS), was recently featured in School Library Journal. The article highlights DPL’s evaluation of their summer learning program and use of data to inform programmatic decision making. Below is a summary of the results. To learn more about their data collection methods, analysis, and application of findings, you can read the full article here.

Denver Public Library (DPL) knew anecdotally they were positively affecting the social and emotion learning (SEL) of their youngest patrons, but needed to find a way to measure it. So in 2017, when they began shifting from a summer reading program to a summer learning program, they wanted to take the opportunity to evaluate the program’s impact. Their new program, titled Summer of Adventure, aimed to build relationships and facilitate social and emotional learning in addition to addressing summer learning loss.

With the help of Library Research Service (LRS)’s research analyst, Katie Fox, DPL began focusing on outcomes (the impact a program has) over outputs (registration and attendance). Their outcome goal for the program was: “After Summer Academy, participants will gain or enhance their social and emotional skills.” Knowing they could not likely see measurable change in SEL skills during the month-long program, their evaluation question became: “What social and emotional skills do youth participants currently have?” By understanding what skills youth needed to build upon, DPL could learn more about how different types of programming could encourage positive SEL behaviors.

During the evaluation, DPL utilized various data collection methods, which presented some limitations and challenges. An analysis of the data revealed two key findings:

  1. Relationship building occurred more during unstructured rather than structured activities; and
  2. Youth participants showed the most positive self-management during moderately challenging activities allowing many ways to complete the product.

Library staff used this information to help make strategic decisions about future programs and communicate with external stakeholders and funders about the program’s value. DPL continues to adjust the program to better support SEL, intrinsic motivation, and life-long learning. To learn more, read the full article here.

 

How Libraries Help Students Evaluate Information in the Era of “Fake News”

In the digital age, algorithms based on personal data allow information to find us as opposed to the other way around. Have we adequately prepared the next generation, who are predominantly accessing the world through social media platforms and search engines, to filter through the noise?

In a 2019 survey of US secondary school librarians, 96 percent said they teach some form of information literacy. These research skills allow students to “discover and evaluate credible information effectively and ethically by thinking critically.” In other words, students learn to identify biased reporting and suspicious sources, which can be applied to everything from Instagram posts to citizen news sites. Yet, according to a 2017 survey of academic librarians, the knowledge is not being retained—only 28 percent of first-year students enter their institution prepared for college-level research. If information literacy is widely taught in schools, why is there such a large gap?

Librarians site a “lack of time” (69 percent) and “lack of faculty support” (59 percent) as the biggest challenges to instruction. “I don’t think [faculty] see these skills as important. They also feel so pressed for time covering their curriculum that these skills fall to the wayside.” Survey respondents candidly admitted that higher-ups in the educational food chain don’t see a critical value in information literacy skills. The lack of prioritization from administrators trickles down to teachers who often fail to prioritize “non-tested” material. Librarians note the difficulty in finding instruction time for students and the lack of integration and reinforcement of these skills across all curricula.

Amid the frustration, some respondents offered that one solution could be to start younger. “Students are so hands on with tech, even BEFORE entering preschool, focusing on these skills at the high school level seems too late,” noted one librarian—and they’re right. A 2015 study by Pearson found that 53 percent of 4th and 5th graders and 66 percent of middle school students regularly used a smartphone. Yet, only 28 percent of children learned about “seeking multiple perspectives” prior to entering high school. How to effectively use open web resources was more likely to be introduced in grades 10 and above, meaning there are years of access to information without proper education on how to appraise it.

One librarian who participated in the research study offered this as a final thought, “In our world of ‘fake news,’ teaching our students how to find accurate news sources and how to evaluate them is critical to have well-informed citizens.” Information literacy education needs to be addressed by understanding the critical role librarians play in laying the foundations for information consumption. Librarians are necessary for teaching students how to evaluate sources and make informed decisions to navigate a world increasingly embedded in the internet and social media.

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.

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.

EdBuild finds a $23 billion funding gap between white and nonwhite school districts

Image credit: EdBuild

EdBuild, a research organization that promotes equity in public schools, recently released the results of their analysis of 2016 public school funding on the national and state levels. The purpose of the analysis was to examine this funding based on racial and socioeconomic characteristics.

They found that, despite decades of desegregation efforts, more than half of students still attend schools that are located in either predominantly white (26%) or predominantly nonwhite (27%) school districts. Nationwide, white school districts received $23 billion more in funding in 2016 than school districts that mostly served students of color. This means that the average white school district received $13,908 for every student, while nonwhite districts received $11,682 per student.

The racial divide becomes more apparent in racially concentrated high-poverty school districts. Of all the students in the U.S., 1 in 5 (20%) are enrolled in a high-poverty nonwhite school district, while only 1 in 20 (5%) are enrolled in a high-poverty white school district. High-poverty nonwhite districts tend to be larger than their white counterparts, serving an average of 10,500 students compared to an average of 1,500 students. There are 6 times more predominantly white school districts than nonwhite districts in the U.S., offering white districts more opportunity for funding advocacy in state legislatures.

Racial disparities also exist in our home state of Colorado. Nearly a third (31%) of students are enrolled in racially isolated school districts. About 1 in 10 (12%) Colorado students are enrolled in a high-poverty nonwhite district, while only 1% of students are enrolled in a white district with the same financial issues. On average, nonwhite districts have 16% less funding than white districts. This means that a Colorado student attending school in a high-poverty nonwhite district receives $2,770 less than a student in a high-poverty white district.

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.

“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.

School Library Journal examines national, state, and local factors contributing to the loss in school librarian jobs

Image credit: School Library Journal

School Library Journal recently published the School Librarian State of the Union. This national overview of the profession takes a look at the data gathered about school librarianship. One of the articles, “A Perfect Storm Impacts School Librarianship Numbers,” uses this data to reflect on the national, state, and local factors that together contribute to the dropping number of school librarians.

Nationwide, the school librarian profession has lost about 1 in 5 (19%) full-time positions since 2000, translating to about 10,000 jobs. One explanation for this loss could be a trend of not replacing school librarians when they retire, and many school librarians are retiring – more than 3 in 5 (63%) librarians in 2016 were 54 years old or older. Another national trend is taking place in LIS programs. Over the past five years, the number of school library certification programs has dropped by about a third (32%).

On a state level, spending on U.S. schools has risen slightly for the second year in a row but has not matched the increasing student population and the rising costs of providing educational services. Between 2010-2015, the average per pupil spending in public schools rose by 7.5% while school librarian positions were cut by 17%. School librarian positions are often vulnerable to being cut because less than half of states (22) have legislative regulations requiring schools to employ a school librarian.

Locally, there is a lack of knowledge among school administrators about the impact of school library programs and certified librarians on student success. Only 1 in 10 (10%) principals report receiving formal training related to school librarians, and they said that most of their knowledge came from face-to-face interactions with school librarians.

The entire School Librarian State of the Union 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.