Archive for the The LRS Number Category

Study published in C&RL indicates 3 information literacy skills are the most important to employers: innovation, critical thinking, and collaboration

CRL

We know now that strong information literacy skills are very important in both the academic and work environments. In a new study published in College & Research Libraries, Victoria Raish and Emily Rimlaud seek, through a nation-wide survey of employers, to find out employers’ perceptions of critical information skills and their potential acceptance of a new technological measure of student skills, called digital badges.

Digital badges, as described by the authors, are a digital representation of an ability gained that “certifies skills at a more granular level.” The authors argue that this method of representing accumulated knowledge of various literacy skills could prevent the uneven nature of “one-shot” instruction provided by professors or librarians by establishing core competencies and identifying gaps.

The survey asked participants to rate a variety of critical information literacy skills from the employer perspective. It was found that three sets of skills had a statistically significant difference from the others, and were thus deemed the most important to employers. These were innovation, critical thinking and using quality information, and collaboration. In addition to this, nearly a quarter (24%) of employers indicated that grades and GPA do not correlate with preparedness for the workplace.

Universities and academic libraries in particular need to ensure that their information literacy curriculum at least closely matches the most common expectations students will meet when entering the workforce. This survey indicates some important areas of emphasis, as well as the potential that digital badges might offer for student success. Over one-third (33%) of participants said that digital badges would definitely be useful when evaluating applicants, and nearly the whole remainder (62%) said they might be useful, but needed to learn more. However these skills are represented, every indicator suggests that information literacy instruction needs to become a core function of higher education, not peripheral training.

To learn more about the survey, current findings about information literacy instruction in higher education, and how digital badges can serve as a new measure for student skill, interest, and ability, read the study in full 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.

 

65% of Overdrive survey respondents say they visit a library in person or online at least once per week

overdrive

Image credit: Overdrive

The ebook and audiobook platform Overdrive recently released results from a survey of public library website users that investigated their preferences and use of library resources, in particular print and digital books. More than 16,000 respondents shared their opinions and behaviors to shed light on how public libraries are meeting these users’ needs.

More than 2 in 5 (43%) of respondents reported visiting the library—either in person or online—more than once per week, with a total of 65% saying they visit at least once per week. Of course this survey polled those who were already at a library’s website, so this skews higher compared to broader surveys we’ve shared before (such as those from Pew Research).

Interestingly, respondents split 50-50 on whether they visit the library (again, in person or online) with a particular title in mind or without a title in mind. Split about a third each, respondents said they’d be willing to wait “as long as necessary” for a title (34%) or up to a month (32%). Perhaps most helpful to libraries is that if users are not willing to wait for a title, a majority (65%) said they wouldn’t buy the book instead. Users seem to understand the nature of library collections and that waiting is part of the process.

Respondents also shared their typical methods of discovering both physical and digital books. More than half (53%) said they only found books in a digital setting while 16% only found books in a library or bookstore (physical setting). About a third (31%) relied on both digital and in-person options to find books.

Learn more about how Overdrive’s survey respondents reading and library habits with 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.

98% of CTBL survey respondents rate their satisfaction with CTBL services as “excellent” or “good”

CTBL FF

The results are in for the 2014 Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) Patron Satisfaction Survey, which seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the library and overall satisfaction with its services. Highlights from the survey are detailed in our new Fast Facts report and previously published Closer Look reportCTBL provides free library services, including recorded books, Braille materials, large print books, and descriptive videos, to Coloradans of all ages who are unable to read standard print because of physical, visual, or learning disabilities.

Out of 6,500 active individual patrons, CTBL distributed the survey to an age-stratified sample of 1,733 patrons, and received 454 responses. The majority of respondents (60%) are over the age of 60, and more than a third (36%) have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The survey reveals that the most common method of communication with CTBL is the phone, with three-fourths of respondents (74%) communicating this way, and a third (32%) of respondents communicating with the library approximately every 6 months. This lack of regular and face-to-face communication suggests not that patrons are dissatisfied with CTBL, but rather that they are pleased with the library’s current services. In fact, almost all (98%) of the survey respondents indicate their satisfaction with CTBL as “excellent” or “good,” and the service components rated most highly by respondents (all rated above 90% “excellent” and “good” combined) are the courtesy of library staff, the completeness and condition of books  received by patrons, the ease of contacting CTBL, the quality of the playback machine provided by CTBL, and the speed with which books are delivered to patrons.

The results obtained from this survey were consistent with the results gathered from past surveys conducted every 18 months since 2004.

Read the full 2014 CTBL Patron Satisfaction Survey 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.

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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.

More than two-thirds of Americans are wielding smartphones today, Pew finds

pew_smartphone

After taking a look around you, it will likely come as no surprise that smartphone ownership has been skyrocketing in recent years. Pew Research conducted a technology device ownership survey this year, and found that more than two-thirds (68%) of Americans now own smartphones, a 35% increase since 2011. Tablets are the only other device that saw a strong increase in ownership – almost half (45%) of U.S. adults own a tablet computer today, compared to just 3% in 2010.

What’s more, of the 1,907 U.S. adults that were surveyed, it was found that this sharp increase in smartphone and tablet ownership was accompanied by steady or even declining ownership in many other digital devices. For example, after years of steadily increasing ownership, e-book devices have begun to decline in popularity, with only one-fifth (19%) of U.S. adults owning one in 2015. Meanwhile, the ownership of MP3 players, game consoles, and desktops and laptops have stagnated in recent years. Among U.S. adults under 30, though, the ownership of a desktop or laptop has declined by 11% since 2010.

What does this information mean for libraries and library services? Pew suggests in its report that the boom of smartphone ownership may correspond to a decline or stagnation in other device ownership as more people use smartphones and tablets as a primary source for a variety of their information needs. These trends mean that it will likely be very important for libraries to continue improving their mobile websites and services so that patrons can easily access resources and information about services from the devices they are most likely to use to stay connected.

Check out all of the device ownership trends from Pew 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.

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

DigitalInclusion_digliteracy

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

Challenges_FF_2014

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.

crossroads

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.

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