February 14, 2016

LJ Index 2015: All the Stars, State by State

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The 2015 Star Libraries are found in 41 states scattered across the country geographically. The top five states, ranked by their numbers of Star Libraries, are New York (39), Ohio (28), Illinois (19), Massachusetts (15), and Kansas (12). The top ten states are rounded out by a three-way tie for places six to eight shared by California, Iowa, and Texas (each with 11), Nebraska (9), and Maine (8). Like these top ten states, the remaining 30 Star Library states are spread across the nation and in every major geographical region.

LJ Index 2015: Do-It-Yourself Projects with LJ Index Data

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In late July 2015, one of the coauthors of this article—Keith Curry Lance—participated in the inaugural Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) in Colorado Springs. During an “office hours” opportunity for participants to confer with RIPL speakers, a participant from Mississippi posed an interesting question: Given that there are no Star Libraries in our state, is there any appropriate use we can make of the LJ Index scores and data? The answer to that question is an enthusiastic yes!

LJ Index 2015: E-Circ Not Ready for Prime Time

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This 2015 edition of the LJ Index is its eighth. The Institute of Museum & Library Services’ (IMLS) recently released FY13 Public Library Survey (PLS) data set, on which the LJ Index is based, contains for the first time data on circulation of electronic materials—primarily downloadable ebooks and audio and video files. We had hoped to be able to incorporate this new data into the LJ Index design this year, but that was not possible for several reasons. That change must be put off one more year. As the key obstacle, nonreports will be greatly diminished in the next data release (FY14 data in 2016), and we expect to make that change next time around.

LJ Index 2015: Understanding Star Status Shifts

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A natural assumption upon learning that a library won Stars for the first time, won more or fewer Stars, or lost Star status is that that library’s per capita statistics for visits, circulation, public Internet terminal use, or program attendance must have changed dramatically. However, there are three sets of factors that can affect a library’s Star status, and two of them can apply even when there is no significant change in a library’s own statistics.

LJ Index 2015: Find Your Library

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Whether or not your library has been given a star rating, you can benefit from finding peers in your expenditure category and comparing stats. For the scores for all libraries included in this round of the LJ Index, use the links below to download a spreadsheet with the libraries rated, their ratings, and the data from which the ratings were derived.

Every Star Library Ever Named

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For the first time, in addition to this year’s Star Libraries, LJ is also offering a spreadsheet of all libraries which have ever received a Star Libraries designation since the inception of the LJ Index of Public Library Service.

LJ Index 2015: The Star Libraries by Expenditure Category

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LJ Index of Public Library Service 2015 The Star Libraries All the Stars, State by State Do-It-Yourself Projects with LJ Index Data E-Circ Not Ready for Prime Time Understanding Star Status Shifts Find Your Library Every Star Library Ever Named LJ Index FAQ The LJ Index is based on four types of per capita use […]

Pew Report: Communities Need Libraries Even as Some Use Them Less

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According to “Libraries at the Crossroads,” a recent Pew Research Center report on the public library habits of U.S. residents age 16 and older, over the past three years in-person library visits have waned slightly despite the public’s marked desire for new and improved library services. These findings, as John B. Horrigan, senior researcher at Pew, writes in his report, suggest that the library as an institution is “buffeted by cross currents.”

South Carolina Libraries Respond to Flooding

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Over the weekend of October 3–4, Hurricane Joaquin brought record-setting rainfall and catastrophic flooding to the Southeast, leaving South Carolina in a state of disaster. In the central and eastern part of the state, rivers overran their banks, washing out roads, and bridges, breaching dams, and destroying property. To the south, high tides pushed water inland over sea walls. President Barack Obama declared the state a disaster zone, and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local efforts. The storm was what meteorologists call a “1,000-year rainfall event.” As of press time, the death toll for the state stood at 17, and Sen. Lindsey Graham said the cost of flooding could top $1 billion. Public libraries across the state began reopening Tuesday, and immediately began stepping in to help wherever possible—posting emergency information on their websites, helping people contact loved ones and insurance companies, distributing supplies, and serving as a place of shelter and connection.

Harvard Launches User Research Center

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In August, Harvard Library opened its User Research Center (URC), where library staff can discuss, design, and implement in-person and device-based user experience research. According to Susan Fliss, Associate University Librarian for Research, Teaching, and Learning and Director and Librarian of Monroe C. Gutman Library, this is the next step in a change in focus for Harvard’s library system. “Over the past several years, Harvard librarians and staff have been investing time in developing skills in anthropological survey design and user testing. While we had many people who were undertaking user design projects, the projects were dispersed across libraries and schools.” By creating a centralized Research Center, Fliss hopes that Amy Deschenes, Library User Experience Specialist, and Kris Markman, Online Learning Librarian, can coordinate usability efforts across all of Harvard’s libraries.