Washington, D.C.— The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today released two key information products: the latest data from its annual Public Libraries Survey and a new report on the previous year's data. The Public Libraries Survey examines key indicators of public library use, financial health, staffing, and resources. Explore the FY 2015 data and the FY 2014 report.
Each year since 1988, the Public Libraries of the United States Survey has provided a national census of America's public libraries. The data are collected from approximately 9,000 public library systems comprised of over 17,000 individual main libraries, library branches, and bookmobiles in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
"These trends tell a story about how public libraries are evolving to match their services, programs, and collections to the needs of their communities," said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. "We encourage the use of this information to uncover opportunities to improve library services and to demonstrate the continuing value of public libraries in American life."
"The releases extend IMLS's most complete dataset on the trends, opportunities, and resources of public libraries in communities across the nation— helping libraries, researchers, and administrators make data-driven decisions," said Benjamin Sweezy, IMLS Deputy Director of Digital and Information Strategy.
The FY 2014 report provides a national overview of trends and a snapshot of a variety of indicators for the year. In particular, it demonstrates how public libraries are faring financially since the last recession (December 2007 to June 2009) and how public library services and resources have evolved over the decade. Other key findings include:
- From 2013 to 2014, there have been slight increases in the indicators for financial health and staffing of public libraries, however, they remain below 2009 levels. Per capita operating revenue was $39 ($12 billion in total revenue), an increase of 2 percent compared to 2013 and the first revenue increase since 2009.
- Public libraries' collections are adapting to changing technology. The majority of the total collections (66 percent) were still print materials, but e-books (18 percent), physical and downloadable audio materials (10 percent), and physical and downloadable video materials (6 percent) made up the remainder of our nation's library collections. The number of e-books per 1,000 people also increased 2,140 percent between 2005 and 2014.
- In response to the interest, public libraries offered 4.5 million programs, a 1-year increase of 5 percent and a 10-year increase of 68 percent.
- Over the past 10 years, public-access internet computers increased 55 percent.
Although there is a decline in the use of traditional library services, attendance at public programs is increasing. Program attendance reached a high of 332 attendees per 1,000 people in 2014, representing a 10-year increase of 34 percent and a 5-year increase of 14 percent.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's approximately 123,000 libraries (link is external) and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook (link is external), Twitter (link is external) and Instagram (link is external).