Released at PLA this week, the study Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries shows what most librarians already knew—patrons are using the library for more than checking out paper books. The study is already generating buzz outside of the library profession and is being picked-up by news outlets around the country. (I saw it this morning on the local news.)
Nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older – roughly 77 million people – used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the past year, according to a national report released today. In 2009, as the nation struggled through a recession, people relied on library technology to find work, apply for college, secure government benefits, learn about critical medical treatments, and connect with their communities.
The report, Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, is based on the first, large-scale study of who uses public computers and Internet access in public libraries, the ways library patrons use this free technology service, why they use it, and how it affects their lives. It was conducted by the University of Washington Information School and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Full report : http://tascha.washington.edu/usimpact.
For broadcast-quality footage, high-resolution still photography, and information about the foundation’s work, please visit: www.gatesfoundation.org/press-room/Pages/news-market.aspx.
We’ve recently watched one of our University of Denver Research Fellows graduate and move on to her professional career – good luck Briana, you’ll be missed. But as one door closes another opens, and now we’ve started the process of hiring a new Research Fellow. As the result of our partnership with DU’s LIS program which allows us to employ 3-4 current DU LIS students as Research Fellows. More information about the Fellowship is available at http://www.lrs.org/fellowship.php.
If you are a current student in the DU LIS program and think the Fellowship sounds like a good opportunity, or if you know someone in the program who you think would be a great fit for us, our online application form and instructions are available at http://www.lrs.org/rfapp.
From the folks at ALA:
1. Our weekly e-newsletter, American Libraries Direct, is now available to anyone who wants to sign up for it, not just ALA members. The sign-up form, as well as the FAQ, is at http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/aldirect/aldirect.cfm .
2. American Libraries has launched its own blog, AL Inside Scoop, http://www.al.ala.org/insidescoop/ . Editor-in-chief Leonard Kniffel offers an insider’s view of goings-on at ALA headquarters and what hot topics ALA staffers are talking about in the hallways. Associate Editor Greg Landgraf offers his perspective from “the lower floors” of what many see as the ALA ivory tower.
3. Login is no longer required to view the current issue of the American Libraries print magazine online (in PDF format), or to view the archives, which date back to the January 2003 issue. Go directly to http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/alonlineebrary/alonlineebrary.cfm . First-time viewers will need to install the ebrary reader to view issues. To download, go to http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ala/Download . Firefox 3 users installing the reader for the first time will need a workaround, http://www.ebrary.com/kb/users/ff3install.jsp , to make the ebrary reader work with their browser.
Almost exactly 10 years ago, LRS.org went live. Yes, we’ve inhabited cyberspace that long – how do you think we got such a great URL? In those 10 years, our website has received about 16 million hits from around 2.5 million visitors. We’ve also redefined ourselves a few times. Here’s what what we looked like in one of our original incarnations (thanks Archive.org!):
We moved to the current look at the beginning of 2005, which suggests it’s high time we rethink our web presence. Look for something new next summer, and in the meantime feel free to give us advice – in the comments or via email.
The LRS is going through a bit of a transition, as we welcome a brand new set of Research Fellows from the University of Denver. Briana Hovendick, Sean Lamborne, and Jamie Archuleta all joined our ranks in the last few weeks. It’ll be exciting to move forward with our new corps. Join me in welcoming them to the crew.
While I was at ALA, I had the chance to be exposed to several sessions that presented research that is in a very similar vein to what we’re doing here at the LRS. I’ll mention three such studies that I was able to learn about:
The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill is doing a study that is very close to our hearts – the Workforce Issues in Library & Information Science (http://www.wilis.unc.edu/index.html). They’re treating it as a two-step process. First, they’ve surveyed LIS graduates from their school dating to 1964, and are currently processing that data. Next, they will be using what they’ve done to attempt to develop a model for career tracking of LIS graduates. It should be interesting to see what they come up with.
Second, Old Dominion University is conducting an exploratory study of the relationship between National Board Certification (NBC) in Library Media and Information Science (LMS) and student academic achievement ( http://www.odu.edu/~spribesh/imls-nbc.shtml). This is well in line with the school library impact studies done by LRS and others found at http://www.lrs.org/impact.php.
Finally, I got to sit in on a session presented by OCLC which discussed their study, “From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America” (http://www.oclc.org/reports/funding/default.htm). They’re analyzing the data from a very large study of library support that found, among many other things, that the library’s most committed funding supporters are not the heaviest library users.
Though all of these studies are still in the data analysis stage at the moment, I look forward to seeing what comes from them.
The first year of job postings on LibraryJobline.org has been reviewed and shows some interesting trends in library employment.
The data indicate that new library jobs are being created, the requirement for an MLIS varies by library type, and that there is an increase in desire for Spanish-speaking employees.
See the Fast Facts article here: http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/257_jobline.pdf
Comment on the article here: http://www.lrs.org/blog/
Library Research Service
The U.S. Department of Education recently released the report, Literacy Behind Bars: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey. This report summarizes the findings of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) which assessed the English literacy of incarcerated adults. The first assessment since 1992, the 2003 assessment was administered to approximately 1,200 inmates (ages 16 and older) in state and federal prisons, as well as to approximately 18,000 adults (ages 16 and older) living in households. The prison sample is representative of the 1,380,000 adults in prison and the household sample is representative of the 221,020,000 adults in households in 2003. Both the 1992 and 2003 Assessments, define literacy as: “Using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”
The assessment indicates there is a direct link between literacy and participation in certain activities in prison such as reading, using computers, using the library, and being given the opportunity for certain work assignments.
Many prisons have a library that is available to inmates. However, the opportunity for a prisoner to actually use the library is influenced by a variety of factors including; the hours that the library is open, procedures that inmates must go through to request a visit to the library or delivery of books from the library, and the extent and variety of reading materials available. (According to the Directory of State Prison Librarians 2002, 826 state prisons have a librarian. This is approximately 62% of state prisons according to the most recent report on the number of state correctional facilities in the U.S.)
In general, prison inmates who use the library have higher average prose and quantitative literacy than inmates who never use the library. The report explains, “Library use can be related to literacy in two ways; adults who have higher literacy levels may be more likely to want to access the library and find things to read, and adults who use the library and read more frequently may improve their literacy levels.”
This report is available at: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007473.pdf
Librarians who work in special libraries may be interested in research information posted on our Special Libraries page. As you come upon information that you think should be included on this page, please e-mail us and let us know.
The Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) provides access to information for those with visual, physical, or learning disabilities. The latest Fast Facts, CTBL Provides Essential Service to Community, summarizes the results of the 2006 CTBL customer satisfaction survey. The results show just how much CTBL is valued by the community it serves.