About Public Library Statistics

Statistics are collected from more than 9,000 public libraries, via the Federal State Cooperative System (FSCS). Data are available for individual public libraries and are also aggregated to state and national levels.

A public library is established under state enabling laws or regulations to serve a community, district, or region, 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;
  4. the facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule, and
  5. is supported in whole or in part with public funds.

The President’s Budget Request for 2008 included funds for the Institute of Museum and Library Services to administer the Public Library Survey and the State Library Agency Survey, effective October 1, 2007. From its inception in 1989 though 2007, these two surveys were administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  The National Center for Education Statistics and the Institute of Museum and Library Services are working cooperatively to implement this policy. The Institute is pleased to provide this important service. Current, accurate and ongoing collection of library data is an essential foundation for quality library services in the United States. The Institute is committed to the continued excellence of this program.