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Academic librarians estimate that only 28% of first-year students are prepared for college-level research

In January & February of 2017, Library Journal surveyed college and university libraries about their services for first-year students. The survey was sent to 12,000 academic libraries. In total, 543 schools participated: 399 four-year schools, and 144 two-year schools. The results were initially shared at the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2017 conference.

Respondents reported that, in their opinion, only 28% of first-year students are prepared for college-level research. Four-year and two-year academic librarians agreed that evaluating resources for reliability is a major challenge for first-year students.

The majority of participating libraries (97%) reported that they offer information literacy instruction for first-year students. Most of the time information literacy instruction is optional. It was mandated at 22% of four-year institutions and 7% of two-year schools. Librarians embedded within courses is more rare, with 35% of four-year schools and 23% of two-year schools offering that option. While information literacy instruction is offered widely, only 23% of respondents have a specific information literacy or first-year experience librarian.  When asked about the ACRL Information Literacy Framework, Respondents most frequently used the “Research as Inquiry” and “Searching as Strategic Exploration” areas in their instruction, and least frequently used “Information Creation as a Process.”

Most respondents’ schools (90%) measure first-year student success. This takes a variety of forms, for example student retention rates, student satisfaction, and GPA. Not all academic libraries, however, have attempted to correlate information literacy or library experiences for first-year students with indicators of student success.  While the importance of information literacy is clear to librarians, what types of data could show a quantifiable connection between student success and information literacy?  Separately from the Library Journal study, librarians at the University of Minnesota have been researching this connection. Check out their studies for more information.

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.

99% of CTBL survey respondents rate CTBL’s services as “excellent” or “good”

Have you ever wondered how Coloradans who are unable to read standard print access library services? With funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) is able to provide these patrons with audiobooks, large print books, Braille materials, descriptive videos, and more to ensure that every Coloradan is able to read.

To find out what CTBL patrons think of the library services, the CTBL Patron Satisfaction Survey is administered to an age-stratified sample of CTBL patrons every 18 months. The survey seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the library and the patrons’ overall satisfaction with its services. Highlights from the survey are presented in our new Fast Facts, and are described in more detail in our new Closer Look report.

As of October 2016, CTBL had over 6,200 active patrons living throughout the state; in fact, CTBL patrons live in every county in Colorado.  About 7 in 10 (72%) CTBL patrons are over the age of 60 and two-thirds (66%) have completed at least some college.

The survey revealed that CTBL patrons are, overall, very happy with the library’s services – nearly all of the respondents (99%) rated the overall quality of CTBL’s service as “excellent” or “good.” Patrons also reported that CTBL library services were valuable to them in many ways. The majority of respondents identified reading fiction for pleasure (84%) and keeping their mind active (84%) as the most important function CTBL served in their lives. Seven in 10 respondents (70%) reported that CTBL allowed them to continue their hobby of reading after they became unable to read standard print materials.

For more information about the CTBL Patron Satisfaction Survey, check out the Fast Facts here or the full Closer Look 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.

Wisconsin HOPE Lab survey finds half of all community college students are struggling with food and/or housing insecurity

Image credit: The HOPE Lab

The HOPE Lab at the University of Wisconsin recently published a report detailing the results their survey of more than 4,000 community college students to answer a pressing question: what happens to economically insecure students that enroll in community college and are unable to keep up with the cost? As the cost of higher education increases more quickly than inflation, wages, and need-based financial aid, students are struggling to meet basic food and housing needs, compromising their cognitive functions and their ability to perform well in school.

Survey respondents indicated that they are often unable to afford to eat balanced meals. Over half (52%) of respondents said that they were at least marginally food insecure in the last thirty days, meaning that they felt anxiety over food sufficiency or shortage of food. More than a quarter (28%) of respondents said that they ate smaller meals or skipped meals to save money, and more than 1 in 5 (22%) said that they had gone hungry due to lack of money.

In addition to facing food insecurity, more than half (52%) of all respondents reported that they had experienced at least one form of housing insecurity in the past year. Students struggled most with paying rent on time (22%), or having not fully paid rent (18%) or utility payments (22%) that were past due.  Students faced varying levels of housing insecurity, with homelessness being the most severe. More than 1 in 10 (13%) survey respondents indicated that they experienced homelessness at least once in the past year.

These numbers indicate the need for action to be taken to ease the obstacles presented by poverty so that every student has the opportunity for educational success. Since libraries act as a campus hub, homeless students will frequently use them as a place of refuge before, after, or between classes.  Librarians and library staff are perfectly positioned to identify students that might be experiencing food and/or housing insecurity and can point them towards campus and community resources for students experiencing economic insecurity.

The full report can be found here. An example of a library guide for students experiencing homelessness 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 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.

More than three-fourths of survey respondents are likely to buy a state parks day pass after participating in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Colorado State Library program Check Out Colorado State Parks

 

 

 

 

Check Out Colorado State Parks, the result of a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado State Library, provides 287 Colorado libraries with two park passes and adventure backpacks filled with information and educational activities. Patrons of participating public, military, and academic libraries can check out a backpack for a week at a time to visit state parks for free.

Between June and November 2016, 720 patrons completed a survey about their experience with the program. The results indicated that most patrons (97%) were likely to recommend a visit to a state park, and more than three-fourths (77%) were likely to buy a state park day pass. In addition, 85% agreed that the experience helped them learn about nature, and 94% agreed that the program changed their view about what libraries have to offer.

See more highlights from the survey in our new Fast 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.

McGraw-Hill survey finds a gap in how librarians and faculty perceive academic libraries

Image credit: McGraw-Hill

McGraw-Hill recently published a white paper presenting the results of a survey of more than 1,000 librarians and faculty members to learn more about how each group views the importance of academic libraries. The results reveal a gap between what librarians and faculty view as the most valuable functions of their university library.

In the survey, faculty respondents were asked to report their perceptions of how the library is used and those numbers were compared to actual usage statistics reported by librarians. This revealed some large gaps in the way that faculty think the library is being used compared to the librarians’ reality. For example, faculty respondents believed that reference requests occur twice as often as reported by librarians. Conversely, librarians reported twice as many technology requests and double the interest in library programs than perceived by faculty. Librarians also reported 28% more requests for access to materials (e-books, journals, databases, and other resources) than faculty expected.

There is also a gap between what library staff and faculty view as the most important need that libraries fulfill on campus. While nearly 9 in 10 (88%) faculty respondents felt that the library’s most important role was offering access to information (online databases, journals, etc.), less than half (43%) of librarians felt the same. About a third (34%) of librarians responded that access to technology was the biggest need addressed by librarians, while only 1 in 5 (20%) faculty felt the same way. Librarians and faculty did feel similarly about some roles of the academic library: about a quarter of librarians (27%) and faculty (25%) felt that services and programs were among the library’s most important functions, and about 1 in 10 (10% of librarians and 11% of faculty) felt that providing research opportunities was the library’s most important function.

The entire report and corresponding infographic contain a wealth of information about the perceptions of academic libraries. This information can help librarians determine what makes their libraries valuable to other groups on campus, which is useful when negotiating a budget and planning for the future of 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.

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.

Apply for a travel stipend for the 2017 Colorado RIPL Regional!

RIPL CO Travel App

The Colorado State Library and the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) are sponsoring up to 14 travel stipends for Colorado public library staff and current MLIS students to attend the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) Regional – Colorado on July 31-August 1, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

What is a RIPL Regional? It’s a scaled-down version of the national data boot camp – 2 days, 3 instructors, and 50 public library participants from Colorado – that provides the training necessary to begin using data and evaluation for managing, planning, and communicating impact.

The ideal candidate for this stipend is:

  • Interested in getting started using data for savvy and strategic planning.
  • Looking for both inspiration and instruction in a hands-on, participatory environment.
  • Seeking to learn about outcomes and how to measure library impact.
  • Committed to leading his/her organization in making data-based decisions.
  • Eager to develop a peer network to support research and evaluation efforts.

 To be eligible for a stipend, you must be:

  1. employed by a public library in Colorado, OR a Colorado resident either enrolled in a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) program or a 2017 MLIS graduate at the time of the institute (this opportunity is most appropriate for students intending to work in public libraries),
  2. a first-time RIPL participant, and
  3. based outside of the Colorado Springs metro area (there is no registration fee for the event; the stipend covers travel expenses including lodging, meals, and mileage)

Special consideration will be given to applicants working in small or rural libraries and/or those working with underserved populations, as well as those with a demonstrated financial need. However, staff working in any Colorado public library and/or Colorado residents enrolled in an MLIS program are encouraged to apply for stipends.

For more information and to apply, please see https://www.lrs.org/2017-colorado-ripl-regional-travel-stipend-application-process/. Travel stipend applications are due by 5 PM on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by March 3.

General registration opens at 10:00 AM on Monday, March 6 at https://ripl.lrs.org/co2017/.

73% of adult readers prefer print books, according to Gallup survey

book reading_gallup

Image credit: Gallup

A recent Gallup survey revealed that most Americans are still reading books at about the same rate as they were in 2002, before digital diversions like smartphones and social media became popular.

More than 1 in 3 adults (35%) can be considered “heavy readers,” meaning that they have read more than 11 books in the past year. Close to half (48%) of the respondents reported reading between 1 and 10 books in the past year, and less than 1 in 5 (16%) adults surveyed did not read any books.

Respondents across age groups reported a similar amount of reading, with the youngest and oldest adults reading slightly more than middle-aged adults. About 9 in 10 (91%) adults aged 18-29 reported reading at least one book in the past year, and out of that group about 2 in 5 (38%) report reading more than 10 books in the past year. Out of older adults (aged 65 and older), more than 4 in 5 (85%) reported reading at least 1 book a year, and about 2 in 5 (37%) read more than 10 books a year. Middle aged readers (30-64 years old) are not far behind, with 4 in 5 (81%) also reporting that they read at least one book in the last year, and a third (33%) reporting that they read more than 10 books.

When asked whether they read mostly printed books, electronic books, or audio books, survey respondents overwhelmingly preferred print books. About three-quarters (73%) indicated that they primarily read print books, while 1 in 5 (19%) read e-books on a tablet or e-reader, and a small group of readers (6%) mostly listened to audiobooks.

For more information on reading trends, 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.

More than 75,000 4-Year-Olds Received a Free Book During the 2016 One Book 4 Colorado

summerreadingwn

One Book 4 Colorado (OB4CO) began in 2012 as a statewide initiative to distribute free copies of the same book to every 4-year-old in Colorado. In 2016, the book chosen was Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, which was distributed in both English and Spanish. More than 75,000 books were given away at more than 500 sites, including Denver Preschool Program preschools and both military and public libraries. LRS surveyed caregivers and participating agencies to learn more about the impact of this year’s OB4CO program on Colorado’s children. The results are compiled in our newest Fast Facts report.

After receiving Giraffes Can’t Dance, nearly three-quarters (72%) of caregivers who responded to a survey agreed that their child was more interested in books and reading, and more than two-thirds (68%) said that their child talked more about books and reading. Caregivers who reported reading to their child less than once a day were more likely to agree that the OB4CO book helped their child become more interested in books and reading. After participating in OB4CO, 4 in 5 (80%) caregivers felt that their community promoted a culture of reading.

The participating agencies surveyed also felt that the program had a positive impact. Nearly all agencies who responded to the survey (98%) reported that the 4 year-olds were excited to receive their copies of Giraffes Can’t Dance, and 9 in 10 (89%) said that the children talked about their book with others. Agencies also noticed an impact on the children’s parents; 7 in 10 (70%) of the participating agencies felt that parents showed an increased awareness of the importance of childhood reading and over half (54%) said that the OB4CO program brought new families to the library.

Voting for next year’s OB4CO will open in early January. Be on the lookout for the 2017 book options and vote for your favorite! More information about the OB4CO program 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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LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs. We partner with the Library and Information Science program at University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education to provide research fellowships to current MLIS students.

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