May 16, 2022

University of Texas at Austin: UT Libraries See a Decrease in Library Book Circulation Since the 1990s

From The Daily Texan:

Book checkouts from UT Libraries have declined about 59 percent since 1997, around the start of the internet. To meet the demand for online materials, UT Libraries regularly evaluates which physical materials to keep and which to put only online.

In 1997, the overall circulation of books in UT Libraries was 1,739,720. In the 2016–2017 school year, the circulation dropped by about one million to just over 700,000 books. Travis Willmann, communications officer for UT Libraries, said the decrease in books is a result of a technological shift brought on by the internet.


Krystal Wyatt-Baxter, head of assessment of UT Libraries, said she thinks UT Libraries struggles with checkouts more than public libraries because people tend to go to them for different reasons. “Lots of people go to their public library for leisure reading and that’s a different kind of activity than doing research (at UT libraries),” Wyatt-Baxter said.

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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.