January 26, 2022

Key Findings From the 2019 ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Report

From ACRL:

ACRL announces the publication of 2019 Academic Library Trends and Statistics [fee-based] the latest in a series of annual publications that describe the collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities of academic libraries in all Carnegie classifications.


The 2019 data show that library expenditures for collection materials averaged $5.6 million for doctoral degree-granting institutions; $724,124 for comprehensive degree-granting institutions; $486,972 for baccalaureate schools and $134,364 for associate-degree granting institutions. On average, doctoral degree granting institutions spent 79.2% of their materials budgets on ongoing commitments to subscriptions in 2019; comprehensive schools spent an average of 82.6%; baccalaureate schools spent an average 79.9%; and associate degree granting institutions spent an average of 63.6%.

The 2019 data show that expenditures for salaries and wages accounted for 61% of the total library expenditures on average. Salaries and wages constituted 80.3% of total library expenditures for associate-degree granting institutions, 57.6% for baccalaureates, 58.4% for comprehensive schools, and 47.9% for doctoral/research institutions.

Spending per FTE student averaged $66 for associate-degree granting institutions, $401 for baccalaureate schools, $255 for comprehensive universities, and $577 for doctoral/research institutions. Staffing at associate-degree granting institutions averaged 4.6 FTE librarians, 5.4 FTE librarians at baccalaureate schools, 7.9 FTE librarians at comprehensive universities, and 30.5 FTE librarians at doctoral/research institutions.

Nearly half of 1,516 libraries in the United States reported an OER initiative at their institution, with 12 estimating that OER had saved students at their institution more than $1 million the previous fiscal year.  Community colleges reported the highest percentage of OER initiatives with 62%, followed by doctoral-granting institutions at 55%, master’s colleges and institutions at 42%, and baccalaureate colleges at 31%.

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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.