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State of US Public Libraries – More popular and digital than ever

WordsRated: “This is a comprehensive analysis on the current state of public libraries in the US and the mapping of trends from 1992-2019. This report analyzes more than 12.5 million data points, from all 50 states, and the nearly 17,500 libraries across the country…

Libraries are more popular than ever thanks to the strong shift to digital:

  • More registered borrowers than ever (174.23 million, or 53.57% of population)
  • Total library collection size is larger and more digital than ever (58.75% of collection)
  • Library collection use is higher and more digital than ever (37.39% of all collection use)…

More library programs (6 million) and higher program attendance (125 million) than ever:

  • Library program attendance now accounts for 10.01% of all visits to libraries, up 84% from 2009
  • States with the most programs per capita have more visits (88.25%), collection use (51.31%), and registered borrowers (12.21%) than states with least programs per capita..

Government funding hasn’t covered library operating expenses since 1992

  • Libraries would be in a $4.38 billion deficit if relying on government funding alone
  • Other Income from donations, grants, fines, and fees addressed budget deficits and helped generate a $17.05 billion budget surplus
  • Highest-funded states per capita have more visits (80.99%), collection use (122.49%), programs (73.31%), and program attendance (81.76%) than the lowest-funded states
  • There’s never been more libraries (17,468) or librarians (51,190), but library staff are still paid 35.07% below a livable wage for a family of three on average…”

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