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In addition to making a wide variety of reading, audio, video, reference, and archival materials available to children and adults, public libraries nationwide have been developing programs to enhance their value to the community. As the Institute of Museum and Library Services notes, public libraries support lifelong learning by “offer[ing] a wide range of programs for people of all ages, including story time for toddlers and preschoolers, homework and after-school programs for teens, author book readings, and computer classes for adults and seniors.”1

Endnotes

  • 1D. W. Swan, J. Grimes, T. Owens, R. D. Vese Jr., K. Miller, J. Arroyo, T. Craig et al., Public Libraries Survey: Fiscal Year 2010, IMLS-2013-PLS-01 (Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2013), 10.
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* Based on the total unduplicated population of libraries’ legal service areas. Values presented are for the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and calculations were performed on all libraries treated by these jurisdictions as public libraries, not only those meeting all Federal-State Cooperative System criteria for public libraries (see “About the Data” for details). “Circulated Items” includes physical items and electronic material, both checked out and renewed (either in person or electronically).

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Public Libraries Survey (1995–2005); and Institute of Museum and Library Services, Public Libraries Survey (2006–2018). Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

The values depicted in the graph are based on the total unduplicated population of libraries’ legal service areas, as reported by libraries themselves. A library’s legal service area is the geographical area that by state or local statute a library is mandated to serve. “Unduplicated” refers to the fact that the population figures have been adjusted to compensate for overlapping service areas. To simply sum the populations of all service areas would be to double count those people residing in areas served by more than one library.

Under the Federal-State Cooperative System, a public library is an entity established under state enabling laws or regulations to serve a community, district, or region, is supported in whole or in part with public funds, and provides at least the following:

1. An organized collection of printed or other library materials, or a combination thereof;

2. Paid staff;

3. An established schedule in which services of the staff are available to the public; and

4. The facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule.

A library, in this instance, refers to the administrative entity, which could be a single-outlet library or a multibranch library system. In fiscal year 2017, the most recent year for which information was available at the time of publication, 9,045 libraries operating in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia met the criteria above. These entities provided services via 16,557 central and branch libraries, and 672 bookmobiles (M. Pelczar, L. M. Frehill, K. Williams, and E. Nielsen, Supplementary Tables: Public Libraries in the United States Fiscal Year 2017 [Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2019], 1–2, https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/fy2017_pls_tables.pdf).

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* Based on the total unduplicated population of libraries’ legal service areas. Values presented are for the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and calculations were performed on all libraries treated as public libraries by these jurisdictions, not only those meeting all Federal-State Cooperative System criteria for public libraries (see “About the Data” for details).

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Public Libraries Survey (1995–2005); and Institute of Museum and Library Services, Public Libraries Survey (2006–2018). Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

The values depicted in the graph are based on the total unduplicated population of libraries’ legal service areas, as reported by libraries themselves. A library’s legal service area is the geographical area that by state or local statute a library is mandated to serve. “Unduplicated” refers to the fact that the population figures have been adjusted to compensate for overlapping service areas. To simply sum the populations of all service areas would be to double count those people residing in areas served by more than one library.

Under the Federal-State Cooperative System, a public library is an entity established under state enabling laws or regulations to serve a community, district, or region, is supported in whole or in part with public funds, and provides at least the following:

1. An organized collection of printed or other library materials, or a combination thereof;

2. Paid staff;

3. An established schedule in which services of the staff are available to the public; and

4. The facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule.

A library, in this instance, refers to the administrative entity, which could be a single-outlet library or a multibranch library system. In fiscal year 2017, the most recent year for which information was available at the time of publication, 9,045 libraries operating in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia met the criteria above. These entities provided services via 16,557 central and branch libraries, and 672 bookmobiles (M. Pelczar, L. M. Frehill, K. Williams, and E. Nielsen, Supplementary Tables: Public Libraries in the United States Fiscal Year 2017 [Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2019], 1–2, https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/fy2017_pls_tables.pdf).

 

V-16c: Public Library Visits, Circulation, and Program Attendance, by State, Fiscal Year 2018 (Choropleth)

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* Based on the total unduplicated population of libraries’ legal service areas. Calculations were performed on all libraries treated by these jurisdictions as public libraries, not only those meeting all Federal-State Cooperative System criteria for public libraries (see “About the Data” for details).

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Public Libraries Survey (2018). Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

The values depicted in the graph are based on the total unduplicated population of libraries’ legal service areas, as reported by libraries themselves. A library’s legal service area is the geographical area that by state or local statute a library is mandated to serve. “Unduplicated” refers to the fact that the population figures have been adjusted to compensate for overlapping service areas. To simply sum the populations of all service areas would be to double count those people residing in areas served by more than one library.

Under the Federal-State Cooperative System, a public library is an entity established under state enabling laws or regulations to serve a community, district, or region, is supported in whole or in part with public funds, and provides at least the following:

1. An organized collection of printed or other library materials, or a combination thereof;

2. Paid staff;

3. An established schedule in which services of the staff are available to the public; and

4. The facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule.

A library, in this instance, refers to the administrative entity, which could be a single-outlet library or a multibranch library system. In fiscal year 2017, the most recent year for which information was available at the time of publication, 9,045 libraries operating in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia met the criteria above. These entities provided services via 16,557 central and branch libraries, and 672 bookmobiles (M. Pelczar, L. M. Frehill, K. Williams, and E. Nielsen, Supplementary Tables: Public Libraries in the United States Fiscal Year 2017 [Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2019], 1–2, https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/fy2017_pls_tables.pdf).

Circulated items include physical items and electronic material, both checked out and renewed (either in person or electronically).

V-16d: Public Library Visits, Circulation, and Program Attendance, by State, Fiscal Year 2018 (Compare Up to Six States)

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Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Public Libraries Survey (2018). Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

The values depicted in the graph are based on the total unduplicated population of libraries’ legal service areas, as reported by libraries themselves. A library’s legal service area is the geographical area that by state or local statute a library is mandated to serve. “Unduplicated” refers to the fact that the population figures have been adjusted to compensate for overlapping service areas. To simply sum the populations of all service areas would be to double count those people residing in areas served by more than one library.

Under the Federal-State Cooperative System, a public library is an entity established under state enabling laws or regulations to serve a community, district, or region, is supported in whole or in part with public funds, and provides at least the following:

1. An organized collection of printed or other library materials, or a combination thereof;

2. Paid staff;

3. An established schedule in which services of the staff are available to the public; and

4. The facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule.

A library, in this instance, refers to the administrative entity, which could be a single-outlet library or a multibranch library system. In fiscal year 2017, the most recent year for which information was available at the time of publication, 9,045 libraries operating in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia met the criteria above. These entities provided services via 16,557 central and branch libraries, and 672 bookmobiles (M. Pelczar, L. M. Frehill, K. Williams, and E. Nielsen, Supplementary Tables: Public Libraries in the United States Fiscal Year 2017 [Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2019], 1–2, https://www.imls.gov/sites/default/files/fy2017_pls_tables.pdf).

Circulated items include physical items and electronic material, both checked out and renewed (either in person or electronically).

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