Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Economic trends in libraries - ALA report

Here is an ALA press release about a new report with information on 2009 economic trends in libraries and 2010 outlook:

January 12, 2010

CHICAGO – At every turn, news reports and research indicate fairly dramatic changes in U.S. library funding, services and staffing – most occurring in the last 18 months. According to a new report prepared by the American Library Association (ALA), libraries of all types are feeling the pinch of the economic downturn while managing sky-high use.

Compiled from a broad range of available sources, The Condition of Libraries: 1999-2009 presents U.S. economic trends (2009), and summarizes trends in public, school and academic libraries across several library measures, including expenditures, staffing and services. The report also highlights trends in services provided to libraries by library cooperatives and consortia.

“This report was prepared to inform and assist library leaders as they plan in these very difficult times,” said ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. “It succinctly brings together diverse strands of data from the past decade to provide a useful benchmark for the library community and its advocates.”

As communities and academic campuses develop future fiscal plans, it is clear that all types of libraries are visibly hard hit. In a fall 2009 report prepared by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 34 states had reported cuts to higher education, which impacts academic libraries; and 25 states had cut funding to K-12, which impacts school libraries. Total state budget shortfalls for fiscal year 2010 are $178 billion, and FY2011 are estimated to be roughly the same.

Public libraries also have been affected. While the full impact of the economic downturn remains fluid and the data challenging to assemble, what is known is that flat funding has been an obstacle – perhaps even a chronic problem - for many libraries this entire decade. Confirming evidence from a 2006 ALA study of public library funding, a 2009 survey conducted as part of the Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study revealed a worsening of funding – about 20 percent reported flat funding continuing in FY2010 and a majority reported budget reductions. Of those with budget cuts, about 20 percent reported 5-to-10 percent reductions in FY2010 from FY2009.

Library trends include:

School Library Media Centers
At a time when school enrollment (K-12) is growing, almost all schools reported in 2009 a decrease in funding for information resources, with a median per-student expenditure of just over $12; and
Fewer school libraries served more students in the 2006-2007 school year compared with the 2002-2003 school year; and
Total SLMC staff grew slightly, then declined in the 2006-2007 school year compared with 1999-2000.

College and University Libraries
While student enrollment at colleges and universities has declined since 2004, library use continues to increase. During a typical week in 2008, academic libraries reported more than 20.3 million visits, up from 18.7 million in 2006. They also provided more than 498,000 informational services to groups attended by more than 8.9 million students and faculty, up from 471,000 sessions attended by 8.3 million in 2006;
In fall 2008, 72 percent of academic libraries reported providing library reference service by e-mail or the Web, about the same as in 2006; and
Operating expenditures rose modestly during the period 2002 to 2008.

Public libraries
Total public library circulation and circulation of children’s materials continue to rise. Circulation of children’s materials has accounted for between 32.9 and 35 percent of total circulation between FY2002 and FY2007. Total circulation of public library materials has grown each year – up to 7.4 items per capita from about 6.8 items in FY2002;
Most public library Internet services have grown between 2006 and 2008, most notably audio and video content; and
Total public library operating expenditures have varied little year-to-year and typically align with inflation rates. Staff account for the largest portion of expenditures, followed by “other” expenditures (technology, utilities, programming, etc.) and collections.

The full report is available at http://www.ala.org/ala/research/initiatives/Condition_of_Libraries_1999.20.pdf

Individual reports by type of library are available at http://www.ala.org/ala/research/index.cfm

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti needs our help

My thoughts and prayers are with Haitians today as they are grappling with what can best be described as a natural disaster of epic proportions. A 7.0 earthquake yesterday (January 12) may have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. I have been viewing graphic images on the Internet, TV broadcasts and social networks.

Please lend support in anyway that you can through local or international charitable organizations. Here is a list of a few organizations:

The American Red Cross is pledging an initial $200,000 to assist communities impacted by this earthquake. They expect to provide immediate needs for food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support. They are accepting donations through their International Response Fund.

UNICEF has issued a statement that "Children are always the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster, and UNICEF is there for them." UNICEF requests donations for relief for children in Haiti via their Haiti Earthquake Fund. You can also call 1-800-4UNICEF.

Donate through Wyclef Jean's foundation, Yele Haiti. Text "Yele" to 501501 and $5 will be charged to your phone bill and given to relief projects through the organization.

Monday, January 11, 2010

2009 in review - Top IT trends, services and products

If you, like me, always reflect on the top IT trends, services and products for the year gone by, here are four websites with information to to satisfy your curiosity.

Read Write Web
Every December Read Write Web publishes a series of annual review posts comprising their picks for best products, analysis of the top companies and predictions for the coming year.
2009 in review: http://www.readwriteweb.com/best_products_2009.php
2010 predictions: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/2010_predictions.php

Information Today NewsBreak
Paula J. Hane, Information Today, Inc.'s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks shares her thoughts on the top IT trends for 2009 and her predictions for 2010 in an in-depth two part article:
Review of the Year 2009 and Trends Watch:
Yahoo! Year in Review 2009 http://www.yearinreview.yahoo.com/

2009 Year-End Google Zeitgeist: www.google.com/intl/en_us/press/zeitgeist2009/

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Are you Librarian 2.0?

In this new Web 2.0 environment one often hears the question: how do information professionals maintain relevancy in a world where the Internet, emerging technologies and rival information providers such as Google are perceived as satisfying the information needs of our clients, usurping primacy in a field which we have long dominated?

My seemingly logical answer, is to provide you with my personal checklist of competencies (professional and personal) required to become Librarian 2.0:

√ Have the capacity to learn constantly and quickly
√ Monitor new ways of organizing and accessing resources
√ Monitor trends in technology
√ Possess the temperament to work independently as well as work on a team
√ Have the propensity to take risks and work under pressure
√ Be service/user oriented
√ Be skillful at enabling and fostering change
√ Have a sense of humor (most important)
√ Be committed to continuing education (formal and informal). A great place to start is by completing the Learning 2.0 Program http://plcmcl2-things.blogspot.com. All you need is 15 minutes a day.
√ Conducting research and publishing results
√ Reading professional literature - especially outside your field
√ Become actively, and in some instances, brazenly involved in ILS design and usability studies
√ Continue the cooperation and collaboration among the global community of librarians
√ Become an advocate for the profession by marketing the value of Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0 to decision makers.

If you are interested in reading more about the links between Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0. read my recent article in Computers in Libraries Nov/Dec 2009 issue. The article is titled Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Library User 2.0, Librarian 2.0: Innovative Services for Sustainable Libraries.

Here is a link to the full text http://www.allbusiness.com/media-telecommunications/internet-www-web-2/13412346-1.html