May 16, 2022

U.S. Library Data: IMLS Releases Preview of 24th Annual (FY 2011) Public Library Survey

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has released a preview (summary and data) of the FY 2011 Public Library Survey.

Fast Facts

FY 2011 Highlights/Fast Facts (1 page; PDF)
Document is also embedded at the bottom of this post

Some of What You’ll Find:

  • In fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011), there were 8,956 public libraries in the United States, which served 299.9 million people (95.3% of the US population)
  • There were 1.53 billion in-person visits to public libraries, the equivalent to more than 4.2 million visits each day (not including virtual visits)
  • Attendance at public library programs increased for the eighth year with 89 million people attending 3.81 million programs
  • There were 341.5 million usage sessions on public access Internet computers at public libraries, a decrease of 7.2% since FY 2006.
  • There were 3.8 million programs offered at public libraries, an increase of 46.7% since FY 2004. Most programs (70.0%) were targeted to children.
  • There were 261,413 public access Internet computers available at public libraries throughout the United States a 1-year increase of 6.8% and 10-year increase of 86.2%
  • Public libraries have seen a decrease in the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff since the recession. There were 137,103 FTE staff – 11.4 FTEs per 25,000 people. This is a decrease of 5.5% since FY 2008.
  • The number of public librarians has remained stable over 10 years, averaging 4.0 public librarians per 25,000 people. Librarians comprise one-third of the overall public library staff.

State Data

51 State (and D.C.) Profiles (Select from Map) or Download All Profiles (PDF)

Data Tables (PDF)

Downloadable Data

IMLS FY 2011 Public Library Survey Fast Facts/Highlights

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.