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New Pew study finds that 57% of today’s teens have made a new friend online

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If the younger generation is any indication of how people will live, work, and interact in the future, today’s teens are media omnivores who will set new standards for social communication. In a new study from the Pew Research Center that takes a look at how friendships are formed and maintained in the digital age, it was found that teens are more likely to text message with friends everyday (55%) than interact with them in person every day (25%). The results, obtained from a national survey and in-person focus groups of 13 to 17 year olds, also found that other popular communication methods include talking on the phone, instant messaging, social media, video chat, video games, and messaging apps.

Teens are also not only keeping in touch with established friends online, but are also making new friends. More than half (57%) of teens have made at least one new friend online. However, it is also likely that these friendships will remain exclusively online. The most popular forums for teens to meet and socialize online are social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as playing networked video games. Girls are more likely to meet friends through social networks than boys (78% vs. 52% of boys), and boys are much more likely to meet through online video games (57% vs. 13% of girls).

Despite parental concerns, teens are meeting up in online environments more and more. Of all of the top places where teens get together with close friends, online environments are now the third most common (with 55% of teens saying they spend time with friends regularly online). It is still unclear whether these online interactions have an overall positive or negative impact. More than four-fifths (83%) of teens say that social media helps them to feel more connected to friends’ lives, but some teens do experience negative consequences such as pressure to make themselves look better, having friends that start drama online, and others posting exclusionary or negative comments.

If libraries are to remain vibrant places for teens to gather and interact in the future, they will need to consider ways in which they can harness the fluid and quickly changing social dynamics of this demographic.

You can access the full report on “Teens, Technology & Friendships” 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.

Be a part of the #RIPLeffect: Come to our PLA preconference!

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Image credit: Public Library Association

Did you miss out on the inaugural Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) this past summer? Well, now’s your chance to be a part of the #RIPLeffect. RIPL instructors will be offering a full day preconference at PLA 2016 in Denver: Think, Do, Show: Practical Techniques for Analyzing, Using, and Visualizing Data to Improve Practice and Demonstrate Impact. This preconference will take place on Tuesday, April 5, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM. The curriculum is straight from RIPL 2015, refined and improved based on participant feedback!

Here is the program description:

Libraries collect a lot of data: circulation, program attendance, user satisfaction, etc. In this preconference, you will learn how to go beyond simply collecting and reporting on these numbers. Through a series of interactive exercises, you will discover how to analyze your data, use your results to inform your strategic planning, management, and communication with stakeholders, and visually present your statistics in infographics and other formats to demonstrate your library’s impact.

Takeaways:

  1. Be able to conduct standard types of public library data analysis
  2. Have increased skills and confidence in using data for strategic planning, management, and communication with stakeholders
  3. Be able to visually present data so that it tells a powerful story about your library

To participate fully in the preconference, you will want to bring a laptop with Excel.

Instructors:

Denise Davis, Deputy Director, Sacramento Public Library
Linda Hofschire, Research Analyst, Library Research Service, Colorado State Library
Jamie LaRue, Consultant, LaRue and Associates Consulting
Zeth Lietzau, Director, Collections, Technology, & Strategy, Denver Public Library
Rochelle Logan, Consultant, Rochelle Logan Consulting
Jon Solomon, Assistant Director, Englewood Public Library
Nicolle Steffen, Director, Library Research Service, Colorado State Library
Meghan Wanucha, Research Assistant, Library Research Service, Colorado State Library
Sara Wright, Director, Berthoud Public Library

Want to sign up? PLA 2016 registration opens today (September 15, 2015) at 12:00 PM CDT. Simply select this preconference as part of the registration process. Hurry! Space is limited.

Interested in getting updates about future RIPL events – including a second RIPL that will be offered in 2016, as well as RIPL curriculum offerings at conferences, webinars, etc.? Go to the RIPL website and sign up for email updates in the “Overview” section.

 

Just 35% of 2011 academic library job postings included salary information

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Image credit: College & Research Libraries

While the library job market seems to be improving, there is always room for more data! In the newest College & Research Libraries, two academic librarians did a content analysis of the American Library Association’s (ALA) JobLIST and the Association of Research Libraries’ (ARL) Job Announcements to capture the academic library job market in 2011, then compared the results to 1996 and 1988. While at this point the 2011 data is a bit stale, the trend information can be useful to those in the job market or hiring.

The researchers looked at the number, types and titles, qualifications/skills, salary, and locations of positions posted from January 1–December 31, 2011. One surprise finding: 33 different library job titles were found in the 2011 study, up from 22 in 1996 and 12 in 1988. The researchers speculate the increase is because of new emerging technologies and e-resources management shifts. Public services positions dominated in 2011 with 57% of all postings, while technical services trailed with 27% and electronic services with 15%. The geographic location of these positions has stayed fairly constant, with the North Atlantic region slightly winning out with 29% of announcements, compared to 26% in West & Southwest, 24% in Southeast, and 22% in the Great Lakes & Plains.

As might be expected, the 2011 study found a 24% increase in the percentage of job postings requesting computer skills compared to 1996, and more than 100% increase compared to 1988. A majority of positions (60%) required previous work experience, 14% preferred work experience, a quarter didn’t specify, and just 2% classified themselves as entry-level. And for those currently on the job market, take note: Just 35% of all job announcements listed salary information.

Read more about the academic library job market in the full report here. And check out our analysis of academic librarian salaries and of our own popular Library Jobline.

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.

Consistent with past years, nearly all of the 2014 CTBL Patron Satisfaction Survey respondents rate their satisfaction as “Excellent” or “Good”

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The results are in for the 2014 Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) Survey, which seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the library and overall satisfaction with its services. CTBL 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. Highlights from the survey are detailed in our Closer Look report.

Out of 6,400 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.

Colorado ranked 22nd in 0-18 children’s well-being

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Image credit: ZERO TO THREE

The nonprofit early development organization ZERO TO THREE recently released updated State Baby Facts factsheets about the status of infants, toddlers, and families across the country. Early literacy is just one piece of the early childhood education and development picture, so these factsheets are useful tools to help libraries and other early literacy organizations to understand current poverty, health, and early learning data and how their states compare nationally.

Here are some highlights from Colorado’s factsheet:

  • More than 1 in 4 (21%) Colorado infants and toddlers live at less than 100% of the federal poverty level.
  • One in 10 babies is born preterm, and 9% of babies have low birth weight in Colorado.
  • More than a quarter (27%) of Colorado children younger than 3 experience residential mobility (e.g., multiple moves).
  • Coloradans are doing better than the national averages for several early learning activities (perhaps libraries have a role to play in that?):
    • Well over half (57%) of parents or family members read to their 0-5-year-old each day.
    • More than 3 in 5 (63%) parents or family members tell stories and sing to their 0-5-year-old each day.
  • At the same time, the cost of infant childcare for Colorado single mothers is nearly half (48%) of their income.

Looking for practical tips to make your library more supportive of families with young children? Check out the research-tested SPELL Blueprint model which outlines activities and recommendations from the Supporting Parents in Early Literacy Through Libraries (SPELL) project.

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.

In new SLJ survey, nearly two-thirds of school librarians see themselves as tech leaders in their school

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Image credit: School Library Journal

School Library Journal’s 2015 Technology survey of 1,259 school librarians provides insight into the positive and negative effects that technology is having on school libraries. On the positive side, the survey suggests that school librarians are more enthusiastic than ever about incorporating tech as a component of teaching and learning. Makerspaces, 3-D printers, and coding skills were cited as the most coveted tech resources. In fact, more than a third (38%) of respondents reported having maker activities and technology already, while another 13% said they would be adding these features in the next year. School librarians are also quite confident in their own advocacy of technology, with nearly two-thirds (64%) expressing that they see themselves as tech leaders in their schools.

School librarians’ use of applications for instruction and social media for providing information and resources has continued to increase. Application use has increased from 57% in 2013 to 71% in 2015, and the use of social media for information sharing shot up from 59% in 2013 to 76% in 2015.

Yet despite this rapidly growing interest and demand for technology many school libraries are seeing budgets fall short of their need. In particular, the amount of bandwidth is becoming a concern. While nearly all (97%) of the schools surveyed have Wi-Fi, the speed of connection is comparable to many private homes. Only 63% of school librarians surveyed deemed their bandwidth access adequate, compared to 82% in 2013. In addition, the funding to improve these services is often stagnant at best.

It is almost certain that the supply of digital information will continue to skyrocket along with the demand to complement these resources with technology-based instruction. School librarians and those who partner with them will need to combine advocacy efforts with creative solutions for how to stretch funds to accommodate the need for more tech-based learning.

Read the full SLJ report on technology in school libraries 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.

Harris Poll finds that the percent of U.S. adults in favor of banning some books has increased from 18% to 28% since 2011

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Librarians have always been strong advocates of free speech who fight to advance free access to information and reduce censorship. Even so, a new Harris Poll online survey of 2,244 American adults shows that many don’t hold the position that all information is created equal.

The survey, which addresses Americans’ beliefs about banned materials by their format, reveals that U.S. adults are more likely to believe that there are books which should be banned than to believe that there are movies, television shows, and video games that deserve the same treatment. In fact, even though nearly half (48%) of the respondents were totally against banning any books, the percent in favor of banning some books has increased by more than half since 2011 (from 18% to 28%).

An interesting finding of the survey is how U.S. adults view information access by the age of the consumer. Three fifths (60%) of respondents were concerned about children’s exposure to explicit language, and almost half (48%) thought violence in books was problematic. Yet when it came to their own reading habits, respondents were much more lenient. Nearly a third (30%) said that they would be more likely to read a book if it had been banned, and two-fifths (40%) would be more drawn to reading a controversial book.

So where do librarians fit into this picture? More than two-thirds (70%) of the survey respondents believe that librarians should prevent children from borrowing inappropriate materials, indicating a disconnect between public opinion and intellectual freedom principles that are central to librarianship. Yet having an understanding of patrons’ diverse expectations about information in its many forms can help libraries to better educate and serve their communities.

Check out all of the results from the survey 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.

84% of Americans are using the internet today according to Pew survey

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Image credit: Pew Research Center

As part of its in-depth examination of the role that the internet and technology plays in the lives of Americans, Pew Research Center has released the results of a long-term study of Americans’ access to the internet from 2000 to 2015. The study is based on 97 surveys distributed nationwide throughout the past 15 years.

In 2000, just over half (52%) of American adults were Internet users, while as of 2015 more than four-fifths (84%) of Americans are using the internet. The surveys found that the biggest contributors to internet usage are age, education, household income, race, and the kind of community one lives in. Of these four factors, age and education play the biggest role in determining whether an individual gets online. While nearly all (96%) young adults today use the internet, the number of adults 65 years old and older who do just crept over 50% in 2012. However, older adults are now adopting the internet at a faster rate now than their younger counterparts. Similarly, while an overwhelming majority of adults with a college degree or higher are internet users (95%), that number drops down to just two-thirds (66%) of those who have not completed a high school degree.

Still, it’s clear that the internet has permeated the lives of Americans over a relatively short period of time, reaching full saturation for young adults that are highly educated and live in high-income households. In fact, the internet has become such an integral part of everyday life for most Americans that an 84% usage rate may seem surprisingly low for some. In order to ensure that this number doesn’t plateau, it’s necessary to continue working towards equal resources and access for all Americans.

Read the full results of Pew’s 15-year study on internet access 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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More than 1 in 3 students in an academic library survey believe e-books make research easier

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With the popularity of e-books in public libraries surging, many academic libraries are still tentatively acquiring e-book collections while debating how they might add to or detract from student research methods. Julie Gilbert and Barbara Fister of Gustavus Adolphus College have published an article in College & Research Libraries that tackles this very question though a survey of 417 students. The aim of their study is to investigate the potential impact of e-books on students reading habits through their current e-book use and their perception of how e-books might alter their reading behaviors in the future.

Even though close to half (42%) of students surveyed already have either e-reader devices or e-reading software on their mobile device or computer, the most prominent use for e-readers was for fiction (84%) and recreational reading rather than research (20%). Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half (56%) of the most frequent visitors to the library said they would be likely to use e-books provided by the library, compared to only a third of those who seldom or never visit the library. This, along with the finding that students who already have e-readers are more likely to use the library for non-research purposes, even for print materials, suggests that those most open to e-books are already the most eager readers.

The survey respondents appeared to be split on their feelings about the ease of e-books. A little more than a third (38%) said e-books would make research easier, almost a third (32%) said e-books would make research more difficult, and nearly the same amount (30%) were unsure. The most cited benefit of e-books was their portability and ease of use, and those who preferred print often did so because it was familiar, as well as easier to flip back and forth between several print books while researching. Preference of e-books was also highly variable depending on the survey respondents’ major. Natural Sciences and Business students were much more likely than those in the Arts and Humanities to embrace research in electronic format.

So, it seems that e-books are gaining ground as a viable format for research to some, but they are still primarily seen as most useful for recreational reading or part of an increasingly diverse mixture of research methods.

You can peruse the full article, available via Open Access by College and Research Libraries, 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.

2013 Public Libraries Survey data now available

Image credit: Public Libraries Survey, IMLS

Image credit: Public Libraries Survey, IMLS

Brand-new national public library data is now available from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Fiscal year 2013 data from the annual Public Libraries Survey has just been added to the IMLS Compare Public Libraries and Search for Public Libraries tools. Try out the compare tool to see how your library stacks up to similar libraries across the country based on characteristics you choose. And the search tool is an easy way to pull together staff, budget, services, and collection information for any public library in the U.S.

Data files for FY2013 should be available soon!

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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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