How much is your library worth?
By on February 19, 2020 in The LRS Number
We can all agree that libraries are valuable to our communities, but exactly how much are they worth? Libraries are under increasing pressure to translate qualitative services into quantifiable impact. One approach is to determine the Return on Investment (ROI) a library provides to community members. Doing so communicates the value of public libraries in terms of dollars and cents. Traditionally a business metric, ROI measures a business’s profitability. Simply put, it compares costs to profits and expresses it as a ratio or percentage. For a public institution like a library, ROI demonstrates how much “value” is realized by the community...

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Loneliness Reaches Epidemic Levels. Are Public Libraries the Cure?
By on February 5, 2020 in The LRS Number
Libraries are not traditionally thought of as social spaces. Stereotypes of older women glaring over thick-rimmed glasses to shush talkative individuals pervade our pop-culture references. However, studies show that public libraries foster social support and decrease isolation. At a time when loneliness is being deemed a public health crisis in the United States, libraries are uniquely positioned to offer up a cure. Cigna, the global health service company, reported epidemic levels of loneliness in 2019 that continue to intensify. After surveying 10,500 adults, they found that three in five (61%) classify as lonely, a seven percentage-point increase from 2018. The results...

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Evaluation Training Opportunity for Colorado Public Libraries
By on January 27, 2020 in Public
Are you wondering how to assess your library’s impact? Do you have a brilliant idea for evaluating a library program or service but don’t know how to get started? Did you participate in the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) and need some ongoing support to realize your big ideas? Do you supervise a public library evaluation coordinator or data librarian and find it challenging to position them for success? The IMLS-funded project Embedding Evaluation in Libraries: Developing Internal Evaluators is the training program for your library. During a nine-month period from summer 2020 through spring 2021, teams from up to...

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How Libraries Help Students Evaluate Information in the Era of “Fake News”
By on January 22, 2020 in School / The LRS Number
In the digital age, algorithms based on personal data allow information to find us as opposed to the other way around. Have we adequately prepared the next generation, who are predominantly accessing the world through social media platforms and search engines, to filter through the noise? In a 2019 survey of US secondary school librarians, 96 percent said they teach some form of information literacy. These research skills allow students to “discover and evaluate credible information effectively and ethically by thinking critically.” In other words, students learn to identify biased reporting and suspicious sources, which can be applied to everything from...

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International survey shows large adult literacy gap between the more and less educated in the United States
By on January 8, 2020 in The LRS Number
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) assesses adult competency on an international scale, using the Survey of Adult Skills. The survey assesses adults aged 16-65 on literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving in technology-rich environments. The OECD focuses on these three skills because they are necessary for full participation in society, relevant to a variety of contexts, and learnable. The United States as well as Ecuador, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and Peru participated in the most recent round of data collection in 2017, and the United States also administered the assessment in 2012-2014. The results of the survey allow researchers to calculate...

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Are you ready for a data adventure?
By on October 30, 2019 in Public
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...

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