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Library Statistics

Links to sites with library statistics and reports analyzing those statistics


Statistics about libraries, and reports analyzing those statistics are scattered. This is an attempt to gather links to statistics, with comments, both for the use of State Library staff and for the public.

The categories are:

Research Brief: Trends in Library Material Costs before the Pandemic

The Institute of Museum and Library Services [IMLS] has published a new "Research Brief" called The Use and Cost of Public Library Materials: Trends Before the COVID-19 Pandemic
Between FY 2014 and FY 2018,
  • the percentage of libraries offering electronic collection materials increased from 80 percent to 90 percent;
  • median per person spending on physical materials decreased by 6 percent, while median per person spending on electronic materials increased by 31 percent; and
  • median cost for physical items circulated increased by 11 percent, while median cost for e-circulation decreased by 26 percent.
In FY 2018, libraries in rural areas and libraries serving smaller populations paid less per electronic circulation than libraries situated in other locales or serving larger populations.
You can find the full document here:

Highlight: Rural Libraries in America

New Research Brief based on 2018 PLS data
The Use and Cost of Public Library Materials: Trends Before the COVID-19 Pandemic
In FY2017 IMLS made available an infographic and workbook presenting analyses of rural public library services and indicators. Files can be downloaded below or on the IMLS website.
A recent project, led by Southern Tier Library System, and funded by IMLS, also highlights the impact of rural libraries in the United States. The Rural Library Service & Social Wellbeing Project used a mixed-methods approach to demonstrate the impact that rural libraries have on communities. In addition to presenting case studies, the project is also developing qualitative tools for measuring outcomes and impact.
Watch a webinar discussing the project below, or find further information and resources through the Research Institute for Public Libraries blog.

Thanks to Yana Demireva at the Maryland State Library for the Rural Libraries in America info. Maryland statistics are located here.