According to the report, public libraries served 297.6 million people. With a total U.S. population of more than 308.7 million in that year, it’s easy to see how relevant these community institutions are.
The report is particularly compelling in documenting the importance of libraries to the nation’s children: children’s materials comprise a full one-third of the 2.46 billion materials circulated and 61.7 percent of libraries’ 3.75 million public programs are designed for children.
And the relevance of libraries in our digital age is reinforced with the data. Since 2003 the number of e-books in the nation’s public libraries has tripled and in the last ten years the number of public access computers has doubled.
Now in its 23rd year, the Public Library Report provides the most comprehensive data from the nation’s 17,078 public library outlets. It covers collection sizes, operating revenue and expenditures, and staffing, as well as performance indicators, such as public Internet computers, circulation, reference transactions and library visits. I’m happy to report that for the first time this year the report goes beyond the national level analysis to look at trends at the local, regional, and state levels. Our online roll-out of the report includes state-by-state profiles that will make it more useful than ever.
The complete report is available here along with separate links to state-by-state profiles, supplementary tables, and a fact sheet.
We’ve also embedded the fact sheet and complete report below.