GHL Blog Rotating Header Image

Demographics and Statistical Data

Digital Retro: IBM & the “statistical pianos” of 1890

Share Button
Photograph of Hollerith tabulation machine from Smithsonian

Photograph of Hollerith tabulation machine from the Smithsonian Institution. Gift of International Business Machines Corporation.

Heads up genealogists! Here’s a story about technology, for you and anyone who’s ever poured over old census schedules and felt transported back back in time.

It’s a story that brings together two unlikely partners in history: the American decennial census and one of the world’s largest tech companies (and RTP heavyweight), the International Business Machines Corporation–better known as IBM.

The setting was Washington, DC, the year 1890. It was the 100th anniversary of the national decennial census. For all ten prior censuses, hand-written schedules were sent in from across the country to be methodically hand-tabulated by massive crews of temporary census workers. By 1880, the project had grown so large that it took over seven years to calculate and report the census returns. It was an endeavour of monumental proportions, taxing the resources and organizational capacity of the federal government. (more…)

Free Online Webinar: Telling Your Story With Data – November 13, 2013

Share Button

Who knew that numbers could be such a hot topic?  Don’t miss “Telling Your Story with Data” — a repeat of the standing room-only session at North Carolina Library Association’s 60th Biennial Conference in October!  Here’s why numbers (i.e. data) are so important —

Funders are increasingly asking libraries to use data to demonstrate value and prove need.  How does data help you make your case, what types of data are available, where do you get data, and how do you use data to tell your story?  This presentation will focus on freely-available county and public library data.  Presenters will show attendees several data sources, explain basic concepts of Census data, and discuss ideas for combining this data with library data to tell your story, using examples such as how to enhance grant applications with data and how to create data-supported arguments for funders.

This webinar is a repeat of the NCLA conference session presented by State Library of North Carolina staff members Joyce Chapman, Communications and Data Analysis Consultant, and Beth Hayden, Demographics and Research Librarian.  While this webinar is designed primarily for a public library audience, the data sources and strategies described may be of interest to staff in all types of North Carolina libraries.

Date:  Wednesday, November 13th

Time:  2:00 – 3:00 p.m.


For more information or to register:

This session will be recorded and available for viewing at a later date.

Wake County Public Schools – in 1907

Share Button

School no. 5, Swift Creek township, 1907The Biennial report for Wake County Public Schools from 1907 gives us an interesting look at public schools at that time. Some of the issues mentioned are similar to what we hear today. There is a need for new schools, more funding, increased teacher pay, and a need to keep students in school. Others issues, however, are very different from today.

At the time, Wake County spent $3.00/year per school age child. This was above the average in North Carolina, which was $2.63 per child. If we compare $3.00 in 1907 dollars to 2012 dollars using an income value index, it comes to $395/student.

Wake County spent about $7880.37/student during the 2011-12 school year, according to statistics available through the NC Department of Public Instruction website. If we put that figure in 1907 dollars, using the same income value index, it would come to $59.90. (These calculations were made via Measuring Worth and are subject to interpretation.)

Images of school houses are found throughout this report. Plans for new school buildings are also included. Small rooms to house coal are included in the plans, giving yet another snapshot of daily life during that time.

Librarians and media specialists may be interested in the statistics provided on school libraries in Wake County, beginning on print page 31 (digital page 37). Schools were clearly segregated at the time. From the list, it appears only one school serving African American children had a library.

North Carolina’s high illiteracy rate, and the idea of moving to a graded system are mentioned. It’s amazing to see just how different life was in Wake County was in 1907, through just one biennial report.



Free Webinar June 24th: BLNC – Your Answers to Business Questions

Share Button

BLNC:  Your Answers to Business Questions

On June 24th, at 2 pm the North Carolina Government & Heritage Library will host a free webinar on BLNC, Business Link North Carolina.  BLNC, a free service offered to North Carolinians by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, contains a wealth of information on how to start a small business. Librarians and others can better assist their business community and entrepreneurs by learning what this great resource has to offer.  BLNC can help your community members start their own business with:

  • ŸBusiness forms
  • licenses and permits
  • business plan resources
  • employer requirements
  • tax info
  • financial resources
  • minority resources
  • government contracting (more…)

This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.