Are you ready for a data adventure?

We’re excited to announce that the next Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) national event will occur July 12-15, 2020, at the Eaglewood Resort in the Chicago suburb of Itasca, Illinois.

RIPL began in 2015 as an immersive, bootcamp-style event for public library staff to learn practical methods for gathering, analyzing, and using data for planning, management, and communicating impact. Now, after 3 national events and more than 25 regional events, it’s time for the next wave.

At the 2020 national event, we will debut a new curriculum and format, tailored to meeting the needs of those just getting started with data and evaluation as well as data geeks, and for people new to RIPL as well as RIPL alumni. Longer breakout sessions (2.5 hours) will enable participants to explore topics in more depth. What’s not changing? Hands-on, experiential learning; an immersive, camp-like experience (with better accommodations!); and the opportunity to connect with instructors and library staff from around the US and beyond who are passionate about creating data-powered libraries.

The RIPL 2020 website is now live and provides information about the registration fee and other details: https://ripl.lrs.org/2020/. Registration will open February 3, 2020.

RIPL 2020 and RIPL Regional Opportunities:

We will be selecting up to 15 people to serve as facilitators at RIPL 2020. Both RIPL alumni and those who are new to the event are welcome to apply. You can find out more information about this opportunity here. The application deadline is November 22, 2019.

Do you work in a rural and small public library and want to attend RIPL 2020? Fifteen scholarships are available to staff working in rural and small libraries that cover the registration fee, lodging, all meals during the event, and up to $500 in travel expenses. Learn more about this opportunity here. The application deadline is November 22, 2019.

Don’t want to wait until summer 2020 to attend a RIPL event? We have regional events this winter/spring in Paradise Valley, Arizona (January 22-23, 2020) and Columbia, South Carolina (March 31-April 1, 2020). Regional events are scaled-down versions of the national events (2 days, 2-4 instructors, and up to 75 participants), that provide the training necessary to begin using data and evaluation for managing, planning, and communicating impact. Registration opens November 1 for both events.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

2019 Colorado Health Survey finds that one in seven Coloradans needed mental health treatment but didn’t get it

The 2019 Colorado Health Access Survey, administered by the Colorado Health Institute, found that “one in seven Coloradans (13.5%) say they have needed mental health treatment but didn’t get it.” This survey randomly samples 10,000 Colorado households every two years. In 2017, the percentage of Coloradans reporting they did not receive needed mental health treatment was 8%. The percentage of Coloradans who report having experienced prolonged poor mental health (8 or more days in the past month) also increased from 12% in 2017 to 15% in 2019. The latest State Demography Office’s estimate of Colorado’s 2019 population is a little over 5.5 million people, and these survey data indicate that more than 840,000 of those people have experienced a mental health issue in the past month.  

Coloradans face barriers to accessing mental health services. The nonpartisan newspaper Colorado Politics recently published an in-depth article about these barriers, and cited cost and issues with insurance as major challenges. They reported that psychiatrists, who prescribe medication, are particularly difficult to get appointments with due to high demand. They also reported that according to Mental Health Colorado “patients in Colorado go out of network for mental health and addiction treatment seven times more often than for physical care.” This leads to a higher cost of care. Governor Jared Polis recently signed State House Bill 1269 to try to improve access to behavioral health services in Colorado.

Libraries nationwide have been building partnerships and creating programs to address mental health services gaps in their communities. Library Journal recently featured several initiatives and suggests best practices for serving people with mental health issues. A great starting point for libraries is the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) document “People with Mental Health Issues: What You Need To Know.”  Some libraries are also training staff in Mental Health First Aid, a program offered by the National Council for Behavioral Health, which teaches techniques for working with people in crisis, including referring to appropriate community resources beyond the library.   

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 challenges reported in Colorado’s public libraries remains steady in 2018

LRS’s latest Fast Facts report summarizes the results of our annual investigation into the materials and resources challenged in Colorado’s public libraries. This report details the number, type, and reasons for the challenges reported in the 2018 Public Library Annual Report. The information that public libraries provided about these challenges helps us track the attitude towards intellectual freedom in Colorado now and over time.

Public libraries reported 43 challenges to materials or resources in 2018, nearly the same as the number reported last year (41). The number of reported challenges has dropped since 2008, although the numbers of challenges reported in 2017 and 2018 were close to double what was reported in 2016.

Like in previous years, adult materials were challenged more often than children’s and young adult (YA) materials. Two-thirds (67%) of the materials challenged were intended for adults. About 1 in 5 challenges were toward both children’s (21%) or YA (21%) materials. Over half (54%) of the challenges resulted in no change to the materials or resource, and a little less than 1 in 5 (17%) challenges were dropped by the challenger. “No change” has been the most common result for a challenge since 2008.

The top reason for a reported challenge was “Unsuited to Age Group,” making up nearly 2 in 5 (38%) challenges. “Other” (33%) replaced “Sexually Explicit” (29%) for the second most common reason for a challenge. Violence (21%), Insensitivity (21%), and Homosexuality (8%) finished out the top six reasons for a challenge in 2018.

For more results from the Public Library Challenges Survey, check out the 2018 Challenged Materials in Public Libraries Fast Facts report. And, more information about intellectual freedom issues in libraries 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.

National Endowment of the Arts survey finds that 53% of American adults read a book for pleasure in 2017

Image credit: American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently updated their Humanities Indicators with information gathered during the National Endowment of the Arts’ Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. These updates focused on capturing book-reading behaviors of American adults in 2017.

The survey found that a little over half (53%) of American adults had read at least one book for pleasure in the past 12 months, the lowest level since the survey began in 1982. Reading rates declined the most among adults aged 55 and younger. However, respondents’ participation in book clubs and reading groups increased to 1 in 20 (5%, up from 3.5% in 2012).

American adults spent less of their leisure time reading in 2017 than in previous years. Respondents reported reading, on average, just under 17 minutes per day, 5 minutes less than in 2003. Reading time declined at every education level, with the largest decline occurring among those with advanced college degrees, falling from 39 minutes per day in 2003 to 27 minutes in 2017. Time spent reading also declined among every age group, except for the two youngest – 15-19 and 20-24 year olds. Respondents spent an average of 2 hours and 46 minutes watching television and 28 minutes using computers for leisure per day.

The survey also asked what kinds of books Americans are reading. Poetry readership increased among younger readers (18-24 years old), with the rate rising from 8.2% in 2012 to 17.5% in 2017. The types of books respondents read also differed by gender. Half of women (50%) reported reading a novel or short story in the past year compared to a third of men (33%). Conversely, about half of men (49%) read a history book, compared to a little less than 2 in 5 women (37%).

The full list of updates can be found here. The new updates are explored in three groups: Book Reading Behavior, Time Spent Reading, and Book Reading: Topics.

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.

Two years of preschool creates positive impact 50 years later

Image credit: Heckman

A longitudinal study of the impacts of preschool participation found that the study participants as well as their children experienced a variety of positive outcomes. The original participants had lower rates of crime, higher rates of employment, better health, and better executive function than the control group over the course of their lives. Children of the original preschool participants had a better chance of completing high school without suspension, never being arrested, and being employed full time compared to the children of the control group. The control group did not attend preschool and had similar social and economic backgrounds.

The study began in the 1960s, and the participants attended preschool for 2.5 hours a day during the school year for two years when they were 3 and 4 years old. The program also included weekly home visits. The curriculum used in the preschool was focused on active learning and intensive child-teacher interactions. Children also planned, carried out, and reviewed their own activities.

Although the sample size is small (123), the study’s author, economist James Heckman, used rigorous statistical analysis to account for this limitation. The original preschool participants, now in their 50’s, lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan and were selected to participate based on being African-American, having a low-IQ, and being disadvantaged based on parental employment level, parental education, and housing density (persons per room). Participants were randomly assigned to be part of a preschool program or have no treatment.

Libraries can apply these findings to their practices by continuing to incorporate elements of high quality preschool school, like these ideas from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC): balancing group activities and instruction guided by the teacher with activities children choose themselves, paying attention to and supporting children’s interests, skills, and knowledge, and encouraging children’s efforts by making specific comments.

Libraries can also continue to support parents and caregivers by providing guidance on how to incorporate these strategies at home. Additionally, libraries could offer a preschool-like experience led by library staff where the caregiver stays and participates with their child.

The full report from James Heckman and his colleagues can be found here. For more information about high quality preschool, please visit NAEYC. To find quality ratings for Colorado preschool programs, Colorado Shines rates all licensed programs in Colorado.

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.

What questions do states add to the national Public Libraries Survey?

The annual Institute of Museum and Library Services Public Libraries Survey (PLS) contains 102 questions that all US public libraries complete. However, most states ask additional questions as well. The topics of these questions have been of great interest to public library data stakeholders for a variety of reasons, including that they may be the first indicators of new trends.

As part of the Measures that Matter initiative, Ithaka S+R conducted an analysis of state-added questions. The researchers found that states added an average of 180 questions to the PLS, with the most common topics including operating expenditures, human resources, services, governance, and operating revenues. To learn more, check out the full report and supporting documents:

Measures that Matter Action Plan Step 2.1: A Review of State Public Library Survey Data Elements (Full Report)

Inventory of State-Added Elements to the PLS

How to Use the Inventory for State-Added Elements to the PLS

 

99% of Colorado Talking Book Library patron survey respondents rated the overall quality of library service as excellent or good

Patrons of the Colorado Talking Book Library continue to report being pleased with the quality of the library’s services. On the 2018 biennial patron survey, 99% of respondents reported that the overall quality of service was good or excellent. And, 95% or more respondents reported that the following areas of service were good or excellent:  courtesy of staff, speed of delivery, condition of materials, ease of contacting the library, and the playback machine loaned by the library.

The survey also asked patrons how the service has been valuable to them. The most common response was to “read for enjoyment: fiction,” which was selected by 85% of respondents. The second most common response was “keeps my mind active,” from 80% of respondents.

In 2018, the survey asked patrons “What’s the hardest thing about your day?” More than one out of every four respondents (26%) said transportation was the hardest thing about their day. The second most common response was “isolation, depression, or motivation,” which 17% of respondents reported.

This version of the survey also had a new respondent age category. Instead of 61+ as the oldest age group, survey respondents could select 61 to 75 or 76+. This additional category was helpful because the largest portion of survey respondents was in the 76+ age group (45%), which reflects that this age group is also the largest category of CTBL patrons, making up more about half (51%) of all patrons.

Information from the survey helps the Colorado Talking Book Library continue to refine their offerings to provide the best possible service to their patrons.

For the full report on the 2018 survey findings, click here, and for the Fast Facts, click 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.