State Support for Library Services Declining

April 18, 2011
 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IMLS Press Contacts
202-653-4632
Natasha Marstiller, nmarstiller@imls.gov
Mamie Bittner, mbittner@imls.gov

Research Brief No. 3, April 2011 cover

 

Washington, DC—Many State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs) are reporting steep and sudden declines in state revenues for library services, according to a report released today by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The majority of states reported reductions, with six states reporting losses of greater than 15 percent in one year. Overall, 51 SLAAs collected $34 million less in state revenue in FY 2009 than they did in FY 2008. During the same period, SLAAs lost 227 full-time employees, a one-year decrease of 6.7 percent.

SLAAs play an important role in planning and evaluating library services in the states. While the range of services each SLAA provides differs state by state, all are tasked with administering the IMLS Grants to States program, which helps libraries embrace technology, serve underserved populations, and develop new service models.

"State Library Administrative Agencies are part of the educational and economic fabric of the nation," said Susan Hildreth, director of IMLS. "SLAAs assess needs for library services in the state and support a wide range of programs that support the nation's libraries as they help people get work, pursue their education, and strengthen the civic life of communities everywhere. It is important for us to track and report about the health of these essential state agencies."

Other Findings
This report presents selected findings and background information about the survey. Findings for FY 2009 include the following:

  • Revenue cuts are part of a larger national trend of declines in state tax revenues and overall reductions in state employment.
  • Overall, SLAA budgets were reduced by 2.5 percent; staff was cut by 6.7 percent from FY 2008 to FY 2009.
  • Since 2005, SLAAs report a loss of 407 FTE.
  • SLAAs reported a variety of strategies to address reductions, including reorganizing services, reducing or eliminating direct support for public libraries, reducing service, and entering into new partnerships.

About The Survey
The State Library Agency Survey for FY2009 includes findings, background information, and tables providing an overview of state library agencies. It is the fourth release of library statistics data from the IMLS. It contains data on state library agencies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia for FY 2009. The data were collected through the State Library Agencies Survey, the product of a cooperative effort between the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, IMLS, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more information on library statistics, visit http://www.imls.gov/statistics.

The data documentation that supports the FY 2009 data file is at http://harvester.census.gov/imls/pubs/Publications/istla09a.pdf.

The data is available in Access and Flat (ascii) File format at http://harvester.census.gov/imls/data/stla/index.asp.

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.