Archive for the The LRS Number Category

Library Journal survey finds noticeable differences in genre popularity between print books and ebooks

Library Journal recently published the results of its Materials Survey 2018, an annual survey that gathers materials expenditure and circulation data from public libraries across the United States.

Although print book circulation has dropped in the past few years, print book purchases still make up over half (54%) of public libraries’ materials budgets, while netted media (audiobooks, DVDs/Blu-rays, and streaming media) used a little under one-third (30%) of the budget and ebooks used about a tenth (9%). Within netted media spending, audiobook spending rose 16% across all of the responding libraries, including a notable rise in downloadable audio.  Included for the first time on this survey, streaming media used 2% of the materials budget.

Librarians noted a few shifts in the types of print books that were popular among borrowers, most notably in non-fiction. Biography/memoir is now the most-circulated genre of non-fiction, knocking cookbooks down from an 8-year streak at the top. History circulation dropped by 12% and self-help/psychology dropped 20% since last year’s survey. In print fiction, mysteries remained the most popular while romance and Christian fiction circulation slipped down 12% and 14%, respectively.

About 3 in 5 (58%) respondents reported that ebook circulation increased at their library in the past year, although patrons tend to read different genres than they do in print. Like in print fiction, mystery and general fiction are the most circulated genres. However, they aren’t quite as popular as they are in print, and ebook circulation dropped in 2017. Meanwhile, romance ebook circulation rose by 8% and sci-fi/fantasy circulation increased by 18%. Like print nonfiction, biography/memoir is the most popular ebook genre. Politics/current events rocketed up to second place from a distant fourth last year, compared to being in sixth place among print circulation. History, in fifth place for print circulation, took third place in ebook circulation.

For more information, 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.

UNICEF report finds that 7 in 10 young people worldwide are digitally connected

Image credit: UNICEF

UNICEF recently released The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World. This report examines the impact that digital technology has had on the lives of children all over the world.

Young people are the most digitally connected age group worldwide. Seven in 10 (71%) young people use the internet, compared to a little less than half (48%) of the total population. However, this leaves out about 346 million young people – more than the total population of the United States – who are not using the internet or other digital tools. The children left out of digital connectivity are often those who could benefit most, creating a digital divide that could deepen existing socioeconomic divisions if it is not closed.

As part of the research for this report, UNICEF used the social messaging tool U-Report to survey young people (ages 13-24) about their internet use. They got 63,000 responses from youth living in 24 countries. About 2 in 5 respondents (42%) said that they taught themselves how to use the internet, while a similar number (39%) reported that they learned from friends or siblings. Young people from low-income countries are 2.5 times more likely than their wealthier counterparts to say that they need more access to digital devices to improve their lives online.

When young people were asked what they like most about using the internet, 2 in 5 (40%) said they like using it learn things for school and about a quarter (24%) like using it to learn skills that they can’t learn in school. When asked what they dislike about the internet, about a quarter (23%) mentioned violent content and a third (33%) dislike seeing unwanted sexual content. About 1 in 10 (8%) said that there is nothing they dislike about the internet, an answer that was more popular in low-income countries.

For more information about children growing up in a digital world, 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.

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.

Fourth-graders in the U.S. rank 15th in literacy in an international reading literacy study

The National Center for Education Statistics recently released a first look at the results of the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the new ePIRLS. This assessment is administered every five years to fourth-graders in participating countries around the world. PIRLS assesses student performance in reading literacy, while ePIRLS, administered for the first time in 2016, measures students’ approaches to informational reading in an online environment.

The overall PIRLS average reading score for fourth-graders in the United States was  549 out 1000 possible points, ranking 15th out of the 58 countries participating. The U.S. average score declined from the last time PIRLS was administered in 2011 (556), but remained higher than the international centerpoint (500). About 1 in 5 (16%) U.S. fourth-graders hit the “advanced” benchmark (a score of 625 or higher) on the PIRLS scale, and over half (53%) scored at or above the “high” benchmark (550).  Female students in the U.S. scored higher on average than males (553 vs. 545). Students attending public schools with more than 75% of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch scored lower on average (516) than the U.S. overall average reading score.

Sixteen countries participated in the first ePIRLS assessment. Fourth-graders in the U.S. ranked 6th out of the participating school systems, with an average score of 557 out of 1000 on the online informational reading scale. Student scores were distributed similarly to the original PIRLS assessment – about 1 in 5 (18%) U.S. fourth-graders hit the “advanced” benchmark, and over half (56%) hit the “high” benchmark. Like with PIRLS, female students in the U.S. scored higher on average than male students (560 vs. 554), while students at schools with more students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches scored lower than average (527).

For more information about how fourth-graders in the U.S. stack up to those in other countries in literacy, 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.

Study finds that the learning environment at home prior to kindergarten impacts children’s academic performance in 5th grade

A study recently published in Applied Developmental Science measured the connection between children’s home environments before kindergarten and children’s academic skills during their 5th grade year. The study found that “early home learning environments related to children’s academic skills up to 10 years later across all subgroups studied–White, Black, Hispanic, English-speaking, Hispanic Spanish-speaking” (13).

Children’s early learning environments predicted their academic skills the summer before they began kindergarten, and their academic skills at that time predicted their academic skills in 5th grade (12). The researchers concluded that “experiences parents provide their infants as early as the first year of life may solidify into patterns of engagement that will either continue to support or impede children’s emerging skills over time” (12).

The study included 2,204 mothers and their children from low-income and ethnically diverse backgrounds. Children’s home environments and their academic skills were assessed the summer before they began kindergarten and again during 5th grade. Home learning environments were measured based on “children’s participation in learning activities, the quality of mothers’ engagement with children, and the availability of learning materials in the home across children’s first five years of life” (3).

Children’s academic skills were measured using assessments of their vocabulary, literacy skills, math skills, and cognitive ability. In their analysis, the researchers controlled for other characteristics of families, like the mother’s education background, gender and firstborn status of the child in the study, race/ethnicity of the family, mother’s employment status, and if there was father figure living in the home.

Libraries are well-positioned to work with families in those critical years before their child enters kindergarten.  Libraries can support positive early home learning environments by sharing ideas for learning activities, modeling and supporting positive caregiver-child interactions, and providing free learning materials.

For more information, the full 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.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation study shows that academic library employees remain mostly female and white despite a push for diversity

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently released the results of a study examining diversity in academic libraries. Ithaka S+R was commissioned to survey member institutions of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to find out how the academic library community perceives its progress towards more inclusive and diverse libraries.

Across the ARL libraries surveyed, about 3 in 5 (61%) library staff are women and 2 in 5 are men (38%). These gender ratios remain consistent across levels of management and seniority, but begin to vary among different positions within the library. More than 4 in 5 (84%) library communications positions are filled by women. Finance/development, human resources, and information literacy/teaching topped out the female-skewed positions (between 72%-82% female). Positions primarily staffed by men include security (73% men), technology (70%), maker space/design lab (65%), and facilities/operations (64%). When directors of the participating institutions were asked how their library compared to others in terms of gender equality, they considered their own library to be less inclusive than the larger academic library community.

In addition to being a largely female profession, 7 in 10 (71%) academic library staff members are white non-Hispanic. Unlike gender, ethnicity varies across management and seniority levels – nearly 9 in 10 (87%) senior staff are white non-Hispanic. Academic library directors considered their own library to be more equitable in terms of race and ethnicity compared to the library community, but felt that their libraries were less racially diverse than the library community. The directors surveyed mostly attributed the lack of diversity to external factors that might be limiting the number of job applicants from diverse backgrounds rather than internal factors like bias in the interview process or an inclusive library culture.

For more information about diversity in academic libraries, 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.

Read to the Children surveys show that 99% of offender participants would recommend the program to others

Since 1999, the Read to the Children (RTC) program, a collaboration between the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Department of Corrections, has allowed offenders in Colorado’s state prisons to send young family members a book accompanied by a recording of the offender reading it. In the past year, around 1,900 offenders and 3,200 children participated in RTC. The most recent Fast Facts report presents survey results from 253 caregivers and 366 offenders who participated in RTC between 2013 and 2016.

The survey results from offender participants reveal the position that the RTC program holds in the lives of incarcerated parents and relatives. About 9 in 10 (91%) respondents said that RTC is “very important” to them, and nearly all (99%) said that they would recommend the program to fellow offenders. The importance of teaching children to read well is a primary concern of RTC offender respondents – more than 3 in 5 (64%) selected “helping their child learn to read better” as one of the reasons they were participating. In the caregiver surveys, respondents affirmed the positive effect of RTC on their child’s reading. More than 4 in 5 caregivers said that both the time their child spends reading (82%) and their child’s enjoyment of reading (85%) increased after participating in RTC.

RTC also gives families an opportunity to stay connected while a parent or relative is incarcerated. More than 4 in 5 (84%) offenders said that they are participating in RTC to improve their relationship with their child. About 9 in 10 (92%) said that RTC is a “very helpful” way to connect with their child, indicating that it may have some impact on helping offenders maintain family connections. Caregivers also noted the influence of RTC on maintaining a relationship with their incarcerated family members. More than 4 in 5 (84%) said that participating in RTC has improved their child’s relationship with the offender, and three-quarters (76%) of caregivers said that RTC has improved their own relationship with the offender.

The full Fast Facts 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.

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Materials challenges in Colorado public libraries continue to drop

Just in time for Banned Books Week, LRS’s latest Fast Facts report summarizes the results of our annual investigation into the materials that are challenged in public libraries across Colorado. This Fast Facts details the number, type, and reasons for the challenges reported in the 2016 Public Library Annual Report. The information that public libraries provided to us about these challenges help determine the attitude toward intellectual freedom in Colorado now and over time.

After hovering at just under 30 challenges from 2013-2015, the number of challenges dropped to 22. This continues a consistent downward trend in the number of reported public library challenges since 2010.

Like in previous years, materials for adults were challenged most often, making up well over half (60%) of all challenges. Just over a third (35%) of challenges were aimed towards children’s materials, and only 5% of challenges were for young adult materials. About two-thirds (68%) of challenges resulted in no change at all, which has been the most common resolution for public library challenges in recent years. “Sexually explicit” (50%) and “Other” (17%) held onto their top spots as the most frequent reasons cited for the challenges. “Homosexuality,” “Nudity,” “Sexism,” and “Unsuited to Age Group” all tied for third at 14%.

Fewer types of materials were challenged in 2016 than in 2015. Videos were challenged most, making up over half (55%) of all challenges. About a third (36%) of challenges were aimed at books, and there were a few challenges to periodicals (5%) and computer policy (5%). Unlike in 2015, there were no challenges to library activities, audiobooks, or music.

For more results from the Public Library Challenges Survey, check out the full 2016 Challenged Materials in Public Libraries Fast Facts report.

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.

Libraries are the Most Highly Trusted Resource for Information on Recent Pew Survey

Image credit: Pew Internet

A recent Pew survey shows that 40% of U.S. adults trust information from a local public library or librarians “a lot.” Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they trust libraries/librarians “some.” Totaling the percentage of respondents who trust a resource “a lot” or “some,” 83% trust health care providers, 82% trust family or friends, and 78% trust libraries/librarians. Libraries have the largest percentage of the strongest feelings of trust.

The survey divided participants into five groups based on their attitudes about information and learning, summarized below.  “Interest” refers to how many different topics respondents expressed interest in.  Groups with high interest expressed interest in more topics.  “Trust” refers to how many sources of information respondents trust “a lot.”  Higher trust means they trust more sources of information.  “Training” means respondents said training on using online resources or digital technology would “contribute a lot” to their decision making.

Group Interest Trust Training Percentage
Eager & Willing Highest High High 22%
Confident High Highest Middle 16%
Cautious & Curious Middle Middle Highest 13%
Doubtful Low Low Low 24%
Wary Lowest Lowest Low 25%

Within each of these subgroups, trust of libraries/librarians varied. Out of the total number of participants who said that they trusted the libraries/librarians a lot, 73% were from the “eager & willing” group, 59% from the “confident” group, 29% from the “cautious & curious” group, 29% from the “doubtful” group, and 14% from the “wary” group. (Percentages do not total to 100% because respondents could say that they trust multiple sources “a lot.”)

The “eager & willing” group was the most likely to have interacted with their local library in the past 12 months through one of the following: visiting a library or bookmobile, using a public library website, or using a public library app.  Out of all the groups, this one also expressed the strongest desire for both a public library closer to home and expanded library hours. The demographics of the “eager & willing” group show that the typical respondent in this group is: female, non-parent, white (though almost as likely to be black or Hispanic), 30-49 years old, with a household income of less than or equal to $30,000, has a high school education or less, and lives in an urban area.

This survey provides valuable information about perception of libraries, and points to some key questions about users and non-users.  How can libraries continue to serve this specific population that is eager to use the library and further their skills?  How can libraries also reach out to the other groups, who are less trusting of information sources in general?

You can access 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.

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.

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