January 20, 2022

New IMLS Report: State Library Agencies Continue to Provide Valuable Services Despite Severe Cuts in Funding and Staff

From the Institute of Museum and Library Services:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has released its report on the State Library Survey for fiscal year 2010. The data collected in this annual survey show that state library agencies’ revenues fell by 24.1 percent in the previous decade and that reduction in staff has been one of the largest impacts of this shortfall. The agencies continue to provide essential services to libraries.


Key Findings

Falling Revenues and Staff Reductions

  • State library agency revenues totaled $1.08 billion in 2010, a 10-year decrease of 24.1 percent. Expenditures were $1.07 billion, which also showed a decreasing trend.
  • The majority (80.7 percent) of revenues to state library agencies still come from the states themselves. In 2010, 39 state library agencies experienced a loss in state contributions to revenue from 2009 levels. States hardest hit were Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York, in which there were losses to 2010 state contributions to revenue of $14 million or more.
  • One of the largest impacts that declining revenue has had on state library agencies has been on the reduction of staff. State library agencies employed 2,967 full-time equivalent staff in 2010, a decrease of 6.5 percent from 2009 and part of a longer term decreasing trend since 2005

Service Trends

  • State library agencies provided $712.1 million in financial assistance in 2010.
  • Fifty state library agencies funded summer reading programs and 36 states funded literacy programs in 2010.
  • State library agencies spent $37.9 million of federal funds from IMLS Grants to States on programs and services for lifelong learning.
  • State library agencies facilitate the maintenance of and access to library collections through digitization and conservation. In 2010, 32 State library agencies funded or facilitated digitization programs and services and 16 provided preservation and conservation services to public libraries and library cooperatives.
  • State library agencies distributed $94.8 million in LSTA funds to support access to technology and information resources for libraries in 2010. All state library agencies support libraries by improving content accessibility, such as through access to directories, databases, or online catalogs. Almost half of states provide direct funding for internet access (24 states) or equipment (29 states).
  • Many state library agencies purchase database licenses for public libraries (48 states), public school media centers (42 states), and library cooperatives (34 states).

Read the Complete Report (174 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.