Archive for the School Category

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.

In Colorado school libraries, librarians are engaging with their school community and e-book use is on the rise

Every year, the Library Research Service conducts the School Library Survey to understand the state of school libraries in Colorado. This year there was a 29% response rate. Out of the 315 libraries that completed the survey, 56% have a certified teacher librarian or media specialist on staff.

Between 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, the median number of e-books increased and physical books decreased for elementary, middle, and high school library collections. For elementary and middle schools, the median number of computers also increased.

Most of the other statistics in the survey remained consistent between 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. School libraries staffed by a certified teacher librarian continue to show high rates of engagement with the larger school community, with 95% of librarians participating in school committees and 91% meeting regularly with their principal. At least once a week, the majority of school librarians help students use digital resources, use a variety of sources, use technology to organize information, apply critical thinking skills, and evaluate the credibility of sources. Librarians have special training in these skills and how to work with students and teachers.

The School Library Survey is undergoing a major revision with the goal of being as useful as possible for school library staff. This year’s survey will open on April 1, 2018. If you participated in the survey for 2016-2017, you can access your school’s library profile here.

To see more results from the 2016-17 Colorado School Library Survey, view the 2016-2017 Annual Colorado School Library Survey Highlights Fact Facts.

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.

The number of jobs posted to Library Jobline has nearly tripled since 2009

 Library Jobline, LRS’s website for library job postings and resources, posted a record number of jobs in 2016 and saw a continued increase in the number of people using the website to post and search for jobs. Data collected from the Library Jobline website are highlighted in the most recent Fast Facts report.

In 2016, 673 library jobs were posted to Library Jobline, with May being the busiest month for job postings (73 posts). More than two-thirds (69%) of jobs posted were located in Colorado, and over half (53%) were full-time positions. A majority of jobs posted were in public libraries (66%), while 1 in 5 (20%) were academic library jobs. Jobs in institutional libraries, school libraries, and other institutions made up the remaining posts.

Salaries for library positions have also remained steady after an increase from post-recession lows. Average hourly salaries for Academic library positions ($21.96) were similar to last year, and Public library positions ($22.09) increased by 6% since 2015. The average hourly salary for School libraries ($19.22) recovered from its low in 2015 ($16.62). Average salaries for positions not requiring an MLIS jumped about another dollar to $18.12/hour, while average salaries for jobs requiring an MLIS continued to hover around $24.28/hour.

Subscriptions to Library Jobline have also continued to grow, with 556 new jobseekers and 154 new employers added in 2016. This led to more than 823,000 emails with job opportunities sent to jobseekers –more than 2,000 emails a week!

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 5,000 jobseekers and more than 1,000 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.

SLJ Technology Survey finds that technology spending has increased by 75% in schools

The School Library Journal recently published the results of their 2017 Technology Survey and found that school librarians are experiencing increased spending on digital tools for their libraries, allowing school librarians to become technology leaders within their school districts.

The survey found that the average amount spent on technology per school has increased by 75% in the past two years, from an average of $3,633 during the 2014/2015 school year to $6,257 in 2016/2017. School librarians are primarily responsible for tech usage in the library itself, but about half (45%) of the school librarians responding to the survey noted that they also collaborate with teachers to present tech-integrated lessons. More than a quarter (27%) of respondents have created even deeper partnerships with teachers to co-teach technology-rich lessons. Four in ten (41%) school librarians reported leading professional development activities using technologies in the library.

Survey respondents felt that their colleagues were supportive of librarians taking a leadership role in purchasing and implementing technology in their school. They reported that the majority of administrators (60%), teachers (68%), and students (70%) view school librarians as technology leaders. More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents noted that they also feel supported by their school or district’s technology coordinator.  About a third (32%) of survey respondents said that being knowledgeable about the technology used in their schools provided them with added job security.

For more information about how school librarians are incorporating technology into their libraries, you can find 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.

National Education Association study finds substantial differences in student access to school libraries/media centers

The National Education Association published a report containing the findings of a study analyzing school library data collected between 2000 and 2013. The results show considerable differences in student access to school libraries/media center across the country.

At the time this study concluded, 9 in 10 (90%) U.S. public schools reported that they have a library/media center, a percentage that has increased slightly (by 1.4%) since 2003. Inner city schools were the only category to report a loss in the number of school libraries/media centers during the time of the study, while small town, rural, and suburban schools all reported increases in the number of public schools with libraries/media centers.

The total number of public school librarians/media specialists has also grown overall, increasing 8.8% during the time period studied. Currently, there is an average of one full-time, state-certified librarian/media specialist employed for every 2 public schools, or one librarian/media specialist for every 1,129 public school students. The librarian/media specialist to student ratio is substantially lower in charter schools, with one librarian/media specialist for every 4,397 charter school students. There is an average of about 4 school library/media center support staff for every certified librarian/media specialist across the U.S.

The percentage of students who belonged to ethnic minorities in public schools was a strong predictor of whether the school would have a library/media center. Districts with the most ethnic minority students averaged about 1 librarian/media specialist for every 7 schools, regardless of the districts’ poverty levels, while districts with few ethnic minority students averaged about 1 librarian/media specialist for every 3 schools. At the ends of the spectrum, the wealthiest school districts with low ethnic minority numbers had 5 times more librarians/media specialists per school than the poorest schools in districts with many ethnic minority students.

For more information, you can find 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.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Agree Fake News Has Caused “A Great Deal of Confusion”

Fakenews

Image credit: Pew Research

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on Americans’ sentiments about fake news.  Participants were asked to fill in the blank in the following sentence: “Completely made-up news has caused _____ about the basic facts of current events.” Nearly two out of three of U.S. adults surveyed (64%) said that completely made up news has caused a great deal of confusion. The Pew Research Center report highlights that this response was shared across “incomes, education levels, partisan affiliations and most other demographic characteristics.”

Participants were also asked about their confidence in their ability to recognize fake news. About 4 out of 10 (39%) people surveyed said they were “very confident” they could recognize made-up news, and an additional 45% said they were “somewhat confident.” Although people had high confidence in their abilities to recognize fake news, many people had still shared it online. Overall, about a quarter (23%) of respondents had shared made-up news, sometimes because they did not initially realize it was fake and sometimes for other reasons, like entertainment.

Finally, participants were asked whose responsibility it is to stop the spread of fake news. Respondents could select multiple groups with “great responsibility.” About 2 out of 5 people (43%) chose “members of the public,” a little less than half (45%) chose “the government, politicians, and elected officials,” and about 2 out of 5 (42%) chose “social networking sites and search engines.”

While librarians and librarians were not included specifically as a group that has a great responsibility to prevent the spread of fake news, many library publications–including American Libraries, School Library Journal, and Public Libraries Online–have pointed out the important role that strong information literacy skills play in preventing the spread of fake news, and how this vital skill set can be taught by librarians.

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.

Let’s Get Visual! Harnessing Data Visualization to Demonstrate a Library’s Impact

alacover

Are you interested in getting started with data visualization? Check out our column in the November/December 2016 American Libraries: Let’s Get Visual! In this column, we share four simple steps for visualizing your data.

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