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chart iconPublic Libraries in the United States Survey

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Purpose: The Public Libraries Survey (PLS) provides statistics on the status of public libraries in the United States.

Coverage: The data are collected from approximately 9,000 public libraries with approximately 17,000 individual public library outlets in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and outlying territories.

Content: Data includes information about library visits, circulation, size of collections, public service hours, staffing, electronic resources, operating revenues and expenditures and number of service outlets.

Frequency: Collected annually since 1988.

Methods: The data are collected over the Internet via a Web based reporting system.

Use: These data collected are useful to researchers, journalists, the public, and policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels. These data are used by federal, state and local officials, professional associations, and local practitioners for planning, evaluation, and policy making.

More about this Survey:

If you have questions about this data collection, please email