November 29, 2015

Academic Libraries: Ithaka S+R Releases US Library Survey 2013

The new report was written by and Roger C. Schonfeld (Program Director, Libraries, Users, and Scholarly Practices) and Matthew P. Long (Project Coordinator at ITHAKA).

Later today (March 10th) Schonfeld will discuss the report during a webinar that’s free to attend. It’s scheduled to begin at 10am PST, 11am MST, 12pm CST, 1pm EST.

UPDATE: Slides from Schonfeld’s presentation are available at the bottom of this post.

Additional info and a link to register here.


Direct to Full Text Report: Ithaka S+R US Library Survey 2013 (60 pages; PDF)

Who Was Surveyed

The Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2013 examines strategy and leadership issues through the eyes of academic library deans and directors. In fall 2013, we fielded the Library Survey to the dean or director of the general or principal library at each four-year college and university in the United States. The survey did not include community colleges. We received 499 responses, or a response rate of 33%.

Selected Findings (via Executive Summary)

  • As in 2010, only a minority of respondents agreed that their library has a well- developed strategy for serving the changing needs of users. Those respondents whose libraries have taken on evidence gathering and other forms of assessment are more likely to be confident in their strategy for serving user needs.
  • A minority of respondents, even at doctoral institutions, believes that purchasing print books to build research collections is important, while the large majority believes that building local print collections has declined in importance. By comparison, the vast majority of respondents see resource sharing as an important library function and there is ample evidence across institutional types of the importance of collaborative approaches to serving users’ information needs.
  • For journals, the shift from print to electronic collecting has been, from a budget allocation perspective, nearly completed. Library directors tend to be more comfortable than are faculty members with the print to electronic transition for scholarly journals.
  • A possible format shift from print books to ebooks appears to be occurring at a more measured pace, with relatively small projected increases in ebook spending. Views about the importance of ebooks in their libraries have not measurably changed over the past three years. With respect to books, library directors may if anything be less aggressive in moving towards electronic formats than are faculty members.
  • The near-unanimity in feeling that teaching undergraduate research skills and information literacy is an important library function is reflected in library directors’ widespread confidence that it is principally the library’s responsibil- ity to foster these skills. Faculty members have a more mixed view of where this principal responsibility may reside.
  • Two core undergraduate services of widespread importance were “providing reference instruction to undergraduate classes” and “providing a physical space for student collaboration.” Beyond these, we did not identify other learning support services that have taken hold to the same degree.
  • At those institutions that provide some form of academic instruction online, a substantial share of directors do not feel that their libraries are fully prepared to provide support students in online courses.

Selected Charts (35 Charts in Full Report)




Direct to Full Text Report: Ithaka S+R US Library Survey 2013 (60 pages; PDF)

Previous Editions of the US Library Survey

See Also: Additional Research Publications From Ithaka S+R

UPDATE Slides From Roger Schonfeld’s Webinar  (March 12, 2014)

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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