May 21, 2022

Highlights: The Survey of Library Cafes, 2012-13 Edition

A new report from The Primary Research Group.

From the News Release:

This 78-page report examines the food service operations of 29 academic and public libraries, with over 175 tables tracking sales tendencies, revenues, and other benchmarking statistics of library cafes, restaurants, and food carts. The report sets out to investigate who runs the library’s food service operations, citing total cost of salaries, seasonal hours of the cafe, and overall satisfaction.

Just a few of the many findings from this report are:

  • For half of the public libraries surveyed, the library itself runs the cafe, as compared to just 26.32 percent of academic libraries
  • The mean total annual cost of salaries of the cafe employees is $31,528
  • 37.5 percent of those libraries with less than 50,000 annual visitors say the cafe also caters library functions, while just 25 percent of libraries with 500,000 or more annual visitors say the same
  • A mean of 35.89 percent of the total revenues of the library cafes in the sample is accounted for by the sales of coffee
  • Cafes in academic libraries have, on average, larger seating capacities than those in public libraries, with means of 37.07 and 24.17, respectively

Direct to Table of Contents (PDF)

Direct to Excerpt (6 pages; PDF)

Learn More About the Report

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.