Research by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) found shifts in Americans’ interaction with public libraries’ materials, programs and services in Fiscal Year 2013. Public Libraries in the United States Survey: Fiscal Year 2013 reveals key indicators of investments and library usage at public libraries in the United States.
Of the total U.S. population, 96 Percent (304.8 million people), lived within a public library service area in FY13, and Americans made an average of almost four million visits each day to public libraries. This is an 8.2 percent decrease since a peak in visitation in 2009, although public libraries are increasing their online presence, and library patrons can access more materials, resources, and services online. Access to public computers and the Internet continue to be important library offerings, though the survey shows usage may be shifting to wifi. Libraries are offering more programs and the public’s participation in those programs is increasing.
Other highlights of the findings include:
- There were 96.5 million attendees at almost 4.3 million public programs at public libraries in FY 2013, an increase in attendance of 28.6 percent for all programs since 2006.The role of public libraries as community gathering places is bolstered by these increases.
- Attendance at children’s programs has increased by 29.7 percent over 10 years, with 67.4 million attendees at children’s programs and 6.1 million attendees at programs for young adults.
- In FY 2013, 6,569 public libraries reported having e-books, an increase of 14.6 percent from FY 2012.
- In addition to e-books, public libraries provide access to digital, audio and video materials. Like e-books, these materials can be downloaded and used either on devices loaned by the library or on patrons’ personal devices. Additionally, 67.3 percent of public libraries offered downloadable audio materials in FY 2013.
- Public libraries circulated 2.4 billion materials of all types and formats in FY 2013, a 10-year increase of 25.4 percent. Libraries lent 835.6 million children’s books and materials in FY 2013. This is a 10-year increase of 22.7 percent.
- There were 333.9 million user sessions on public access computers. This is a decrease of 9.2 percent from FY 2010.
- In FY 2013, the public invested over $11.5 billion in revenue to public libraries. After adjusting for inflation this reflects no change from the previous year and a 10-year increase of 7.5 percent.
Follow this link for access to the Public Library Survey data and the full report: www.imls.gov/research-evaluation/data-collection/public-libraries-united-states-survey.