New analyses from the Humanities Indicators describe the finances, holdings, and usage of the nation’s public libraries.
As print holdings continue to decline, public libraries’ audio, visual, and ebook holdings have increased dramatically. Per capita ebook holdings alone increased by more than 6,400% from 2004 to 2018.
Looking at the country as a whole, the increase in the number of internet-access computers available via the nation’s public libraries has outpaced population growth. As of 2018, however, such availability was far greater in some states than others.
After adjusting for inflation, libraries’ 2018 per capita expenditure level reflects a near-complete return to the 2009 peak level after several years of decline and then stasis in library spending. Local government remains the primary funder of libraries. In 2018, the share of library revenues coming from state and Federal government was substantially smaller than two decades earlier.
Growth in the number of public librarians kept pace with population growth over the 1995–2018 time period. The share of librarians who have a master’s degree from an American Library Association–accredited program also held steady (at approximately 70%).
New Data Analyses From Humanities Indicators Describe the Finances, Holdings, and Usage of the Nation’s Public Libraries
Filed by December 15, 2020on