State Library Agencies Continue to Provide Valuable Services Despite Severe Cuts in Funding and Staff

February 6, 2012
 
 
cover of StLA Survey 2010 report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IMLS Press Contacts
202-653-4632
Kevin O'Connell, koconnell@imls.gov
Mamie Bittner, mbittner@imls.gov

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has released its report on the State Library Survey for fiscal year 2010. The data collected in this annual survey show that state library agencies’ revenues fell by 24.1 percent in the previous decade and that reduction in staff has been one of the largest impacts of this shortfall. The agencies continue to provide essential services to libraries.

State libraries are instrumental in helping local libraries meet growing public demand for content and services. They provide leadership by establishing statewide plans for library services, investing in technology and content that can be used by libraries throughout the state, and providing support for local programming.

This report, which contains data on state library agencies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, marks the fifth release of library statistics data from IMLS. The data were collected through the State Library Agencies (StLA) Survey, the product of a cooperative effort between the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), IMLS, and the U.S. Census Bureau. The FY2010 survey is the 17th in the StLA series.

Findings of the report include the following:

Falling Revenues and Staff Reductions

  • State library agency revenues totaled $1.08 billion in 2010, a 10-year decrease of 24.1 percent. Expenditures were $1.07 billion, which also showed a decreasing trend.
  • The majority (80.7 percent) of revenues to state library agencies still come from the states themselves. In 2010, 39 state library agencies experienced a loss in state contributions to revenue from 2009 levels. States hardest hit were Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York, in which there were losses to 2010 state contributions to revenue of $14 million or more.
  • One of the largest impacts that declining revenue has had on state library agencies has been on the reduction of staff. State library agencies employed 2,967 full-time equivalent staff in 2010, a decrease of 6.5 percent from 2009 and part of a longer term decreasing trend since 2005

Service Trends

  • State library agencies provided $712.1 million in financial assistance in 2010.
  • Fifty state library agencies funded summer reading programs and 36 states funded literacy programs in 2010.
  • State library agencies spent $37.9 million of federal funds from IMLS Grants to States on programs and services for lifelong learning.
  • State library agencies facilitate the maintenance of and access to library collections through digitization and conservation. In 2010, 32 State library agencies funded or facilitated digitization programs and services and 16 provided preservation and conservation services to public libraries and library cooperatives.
  • State library agencies distributed $94.8 million in LSTA funds to support access to technology and information resources for libraries in 2010. All state library agencies support libraries by improving content accessibility, such as through access to directories, databases, or online catalogs. Almost half of states provide direct funding for internet access (24 states) or equipment (29 states).
  • Many state library agencies purchase database licenses for public libraries (48 states), public school media centers (42 states), and library cooperatives (34 states).

The purpose of the StLA Survey is to provide state and federal policymakers, researchers, and other interested users with descriptive information about state library agencies. The data collected are useful to (1) chief officers of state library agencies; (2) policymakers in the executive and legislative branches of federal and state governments; (3) government and library administrators at the federal, state, and local levels; (4) the American Library Association and its members or customers; (5) library and public policy researchers; and (6) the public, journalists, and others. Decision makers use these data to obtain information about services and fiscal practices.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.