May 21, 2022

Academic Libraries: ITHAKA S+R Releases “US Library Survey 2016” Report

UPDATED POST April 26, 2017 We’ve embedded a video of Roger Schonfeld’s 45 minute presentation about the 2017 US Library Survey recorded at the CNI Spring Meeting at the bottom of this post.

The ITHAKA S+R US Library Survey 2016 was published today, April 3, 2017. The report was written by Christine Wolff and includes reflections by Roger C. Schonfeld, Director, Libraries and Scholarly Communication Program.

From the Introduction:

2017-04-02_16-21-49The Ithaka S+R Library Survey has examined the attitudes and behaviors of library deans and directors at not-for-profit four-year academic institutions across the United States on a triennial basis since 2010.


The Library Survey provides unique insights into the perspectives, priorities, and long-term plans of the leaders of academic libraries. By focusing on the chief executive of each academic library, this survey provides insight on high-level issues including strategy, leadership, budget, and staffing. These decision-makers play an important role in shaping the future of library services and collections at their colleges and universities.

The Library Survey report aims to provide academic librarians and higher education leaders with information about the important issues and trends that are shaping the purpose, role, and viability of the academic library. For the 2016 survey cycle, working with an advisory board, we reduced the length of the questionnaire while also adding coverage of respondents’ perceptions and practices related to cross-institutional collaboration, talent management, and library contributions to student success.

Noteworthy Findings

Library directors are pursuing strategic direction with a decreasing sense of support from their institutions. There is evidence across the survey that library directors feel increasingly less valued by, involved with, and aligned strategically with their supervisors and other senior academic leadership. 


Source: Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2016

Library directors are deeply committed to supporting student success but many find it difficult to articulate these contributions. Approximately eight in ten respondents indicated that the most important priority for their library is supporting student success, although only about half of respondents reported that their library has clearly articulated how it contributes towards student success.

Library directors are increasingly recognizing that discovery does not and should not always happen in the library. Compared to the 2013 survey results, fewer library directors believe that it is important that the library is seen by its users as the first place that they go to discover content.


Source: Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2016

Collections have been digitally transformed, and the shift to non-textual collections is the next big question. Library leaders report increased spending on e-resources, accompanied by decreased spending on print resources, and expect spending to continue in this direction


Source: Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2016

Doctoral universities are more likely to show evidence of cross-institutional collaboration. Greater shares of library directors at doctoral universities rated peer and aspirant institutions as highly influential stakeholders in shaping strategic priorities and reported that various types of collaborative agreements to increase access to resources are highly important.

Source: Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2016

Direct to Full Text Report

A Few More Charts From Report (39 Figures are Found in the Report)


Source: Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2016


Source: Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2016


Source: Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2016


: Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2016

 Direct to Full Text Report

Video Added on April 26, 2017

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.