Library Research Service

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Library Research Service (LRS) is a nonprofit governmental research organization located in Denver, Colorado. LRS is a part of the Colorado State Library and was established in 1987 by then Colorado State Librarian, Nancy Bolt. The purpose of LRS is to provide public services related to the research and statistics of public libraries, school libraries and academic libraries. LRS is the third-oldest established center of library research in the nation after the Library Research Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. It is the only library research center based in a state library agency and the only one west of the Mississippi River.


School Libraries

Provided on the LRS website is access to annual statistics for Colorado school libraries. Additionally, users can get national school library statistics as provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The LRS website also provides links to state libraries that provide statistics about school libraries including: California (U.S. state), Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota , and Vermont.

School Impact Studies

In 1990, LRS received its first major grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Library Programs, which is a precursor of today's Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The 1990 grant funded what is known as the Colorado study and was published in 1993 as, The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement.

In 2000, a second Colorado study, How School Librarians help Kids Achieve Standards: the Second Colorado Study was published. This study lead to a total of more than 15 replications of similar studies by as many states and employed ten different teams of researchers. The states which have conducted a school library impact study since the 2000 Colorado study include: Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Illinois (U.S. state), Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina (U.S. state), New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Colorado School Library Research Tools

Users of the LRS website can find interactive statistics, survey statistics, library profiles, salaries, and a list of challenged materials in Colorado school libraries by going to the website. Interactive Colorado school library statistics are available from the 2005-06 school year to present. Colorado school library survey statistics are available in an excel format as taken from the annual Colorado School Library Survey beginning with the 1998-99 school year. Colorado school library profiles are also available through a comparison tool that can be used to compare input and output data for specific school libraries with state averages. The school years presented in the profiles begin in 2002-03. Users of LRS data can access information about salaries for school libraries and library assistants for the years of 2000 through 2004. Access to reports from the Colorado Association of Libraries Intellectual Freedom Committee about challenged materials in school libraries in Colorado is also available on the LRS website.

Public Libraries

Provided on the LRS website is access to annual statistics for Colorado public libraries. There is also a link to reports that came from the Counting on Results] (CoR) study which was a nationwide examination of the impact of public library services on individual patrons. A number of volunteer libraries from around the country participated in the CoR study. There is also access to the Public Library Data Service Statistical Report from the American Library Association (ALA). Additionally, users can get NCES public library statistics covering the years of 1992 to the present.

Colorado Public Library Research Tools

Users of the LRS website can find interactive statistics and salary information for public libraries in the state going back to 1987. These statistics are gathered during the annual Colorado Public Library Report, collected in January through March of each year. State totals and ratios are also presented. Additionally, users can access data specific to Metro libraries in Colorado, and can retrieve current Mill Levy rates for libraries throughout the state. Each year, a report is prepared of challenged materials in Colorado's public libraries.

Community Analysis provides a number of local and national resources for public libraries wishing to analyze their communities, including labor and demography information. Also provided is a Community Analysis Scan Form, which details resources to aid in community analysis.

Academic Libraries

Statistics from the federal Academic Library Survey (ALS) are also provided on the LRS website. Academic library statistics from the ALS are provided on a bi-yearly basis starting in 1994 through present. The ALS is conducted on a bi-annual basis and studies libraries from public, private and for-profit institutions of higher education in Colorado community colleges, colleges and universities. Users of the LRS website can also find various bi-annual statistics from the NCES starting in 1988 through the present.

2005 Colorado Academic Library Impact Study

During the Spring of 2005, the Library Research Service, in association with the Colorado Academic Library Consortium, conducted a study about academic library usage and outcomes in order to gain a greater understanding of how these facilities help students learn, and to assess how libraries help instructors with their teaching activities and objectives. Over 3,200 undergraduate students and nearly 400 faculty members from nine Colorado colleges and universities responded to the study. The report and a number of quotable facts are available on the LRS website.


Since 1998

Since 1998, LRS has provided access to library research and statistics through the main LRS website to users at no cost. From the website, users can find Colorado statistics and national statistics for academic, public, and school libraries. The website also provides interactive tools for users that allows them to locate and access a wide variety of statistics based on the year, location, name, or statistic they wish to find.

Three series of reports

The LRS website offers access to three series of reports which include Fast Facts, Closer Look reports, and Quotable Facts. Fast Facts is a series of publications which briefly highlight selected statistics of popular importance to Colorado librarians and library patrons. Fast Facts publications are written predominantly by LRS employees and research fellows. Closer Look reports go into greater detail than the Fast Facts publications and reports on major LRS research projects. Quotable Facts are pocket-sized mini-brochures provided to library advocates to assist with fast and easy access to simple and important facts.

Links to Resources

The LRS website also provides links to research and statistics on library technology and other selected topics. There are also a number of dynamic tools that facilitate access to data that may be useful for library managers, trustees, Library and Information Science (LIS) faculty and students, the media, and other organizations that conduct LIS research or collection library-related statistics.

Website Awards

The website has won many awards since its initial inception. These awards include the 2003 Helen M. Eckard Award for exemplary use of Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS) and Public Library Data from the NCES and the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS). Library Research Service also won the AG&H Education Site Award in January, 2004, and the Wise Owl Site of the Month award in March, 2004.

Collaboration with the University of Denver

The Library Research Service is a unit of the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Department of Education that is operated in callaboration with the Library and Information Science (LIS) Program, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver. The LIS-LRS partnership enables the LRS to offer research fellowships as well as practicum opportunities to DU-LIS students.


Each year, the Library Research Service awards three to four Fellowships to students in the Library and Information Science Program, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver. A Fellowship candidate must be nominated by a DU LIS faculty member, complete an application, and submit a resume and writing sample. Based on a review of this information by the LRS staff, three to four finalists are selected for each vacancy. Interviews of finalists by the LRS staff and at least one representative of the DU LIS faculty provide the basis for selection of the Fellowship recipient.

An LRS Fellowship is an honor which offers opportunities to begin to develop a personal professional network, to gain experience both in designing and implementing research and in publishing and presenting its findings, and to develop advanced research and project management skills. Previous recipients are now employed in high-profile positions with the Library of Congress, the Colorado State Library, a variety of libraries and information centers in Colorado and beyond, and library consulting firms.

Those interested in applying for an LRS Fellowship should contact a member of the DU LIS faculty and ask to be nominated.


Library Jobline

Developed by the staff at the Library Research Service (LRS) with the help of the Jobline Advisory Committee and sponsored by the Colorado State Library (CSL), the new was launched on January 16, 2007. It is a searchable database of job openings in libraries and related information organizations. Available 24/7, is a free service to both job seekers and employers.

To get started, just set up an account as either an employer or a job-seeker. Provide information about the job you are trying to fill or the job you are trying to find and does the rest. If you just want to look at current job postings without registering, you can do that too by searching or browsing Colorado and out-of-state library job listings.

What you should know about

  • All jobs are briefly reviewed by LRS staff before appearing online. This precaution is to prevent spam and other misuse of the site. Most jobs will be on the same day they are submitted. However, depending on the day and time, some job postings may take up to 2 business days to appear on the site (i.e., job postings submitted on the weekend or during holidays will take longer).
  • The more information employers provide to the in the predetermined fields, the easier it will be for job-seekers to find their job postings. Like an expertly catalogued book, the job will be easier to find if it is described well. Both job seekers and employers should note that the search and email alert features are based on the predetermined fields on the form employers complete for each job (e.g., type of library, location, hours, salary, education, and institution).
  • All job listings must comply with the Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action guidelines.
  • Potential employers want to know how you found their job listing, please tell them you found out about their positions from CSL's
  • The LRS staff does its best to ensure information is timely and correct; however, ultimately employers and job seekers are responsible for checking their registration and job postings for accuracy.