FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC—Public library visits and circulations per capita increased almost 20 percent between FY1999 and FY2008, while the number of public librarians per 25,000 people has remained virtually the same during that same period, according to the FY2008 Public Libraries Survey (PLS) report issued by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The PLS report, which includes information on population of service areas, service outlets, library collections and services, library staff, and operating revenue and expenditures, also found that Americans made 1.5 billion visits to public libraries in FY2008, up from 1.43 billion total visits the previous year.
More than 9,200 libraries were surveyed in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The survey had an impressive 98 percent response rate due to the cooperative efforts of the chief officers of State Library Agencies, IMLS, and the Census Bureau.
"This year, the FY2008 Public Library Survey incorporates a new set of geographic identifiers called locale codes, which will help researchers and practitioners organize library data according to the community served, whether it’s a remote rural area or a densely-populated center city neighborhood," said IMLS Acting Director Marsha L. Semmel. "Locale codes will be a useful new tool for examining the diverse ways that public library services impact local communities."
The report includes a number of key findings that will assist the library community and local, state, and national policymakers in making decisions to better their communities.
The FY2008 survey is the 21st in the series. On October 1, 2007, responsibility for the PLS was transferred to IMLS from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), along with the State Library Agencies survey. The U.S. Census Bureau collects the data under a contract with IMLS.
For more information on library statistics, visit http://www.imls.gov/statistics.
The report is available in PDF format. http://harvester.census.gov/imls/pubs/pls/index.asp
The FY2008 PLS data files and documentation were released on May 21, 2010. http://harvester.census.gov/imls/data/pls/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.