Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Help With Our Public Library ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Help With Our Public Library
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: hermanmelville-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 12 Jul 2005 11:51 PDT
Expires: 11 Aug 2005 11:51 PDT
Question ID: 542689
Hi. Can you help me find information regarding public libraries?
number of volumes, population served, budget allowances, etc.?  I work
for a library in New York and we are attempting to compare our library
with other public libraries in the state or country. If you do well
with this, you will get another ten dollars as a tip.

Request for Question Clarification by justaskscott-ga on 12 Jul 2005 15:19 PDT
Do you need statistics from 2004?  Or would another recent year (for
example, 2002) be sufficient?

Do you want only a free source of statistics?  Or would you or your
library be willing to purchase a publication or subscription for those
statistics -- and if so, how much would you be willing to spend?

Clarification of Question by hermanmelville-ga on 13 Jul 2005 08:52 PDT
Stats from 2004 are better for us; however, if that is not available,
less recent sources like 2003 or 2002 would also be sufficient. Also,
we want only a free source of statistics at this time.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 16 Jul 2005 19:25 PDT
Call me pafalafa-ga.

The most comprehensive free source of stats that I know of comes from
the US Department of Education:
Public Libraries in the United States

This is a very recent report (March 2005) but typical of the federal
government, the data presented are already a bit dated, and cover

Still, it's hard to imagine a more comprehensive resource.  For instance:

**Public libraries had a total of 136,000 paid full-time-equivalent
(FTE) staff in FY 2002, or 12.3 paid FTE staff per 25,000 population
(tables 10 and A6).

**Of the total FTE staff, 22 percent, or 2.7 per 25,000 population,
had master?s degrees from programs of library and information studies
accredited by the American Library Association (?ALA-MLS? degrees); 11
percent were librarians by title but did not have the ALA-MLS degree;
and 67 percent were in other positions (tables 10 and A7)

**In FY 2002, 79 percent of public libraries? total operating income
of about $8.6 billion came from local sources, 12 percent from state
sources, 1 percent from federal sources, and 9 percent from other
sources, such as monetary gifts and donations, interest, library
fines, and fees

**Nationwide, the average total per capita operating income for public
libraries was $30.97 (table 13). Of that, $24.49 was from local
sources, $3.61 from state sources, $.17 from federal sources, and
$2.69 from other sources.

And so on, for 170+ pages.  There are tables providing a wealth of
details by state, library type, etc.

Have a look, and let me know if this is the sort of resource you're looking for.


Clarification of Question by hermanmelville-ga on 19 Jul 2005 21:46 PDT
Hi!  Sorry about the delay in getting back to you.  This is just the
kind of stuff that we are looking for.  The more complete, the better,
but this is certainly the right flavor.  Also, if you could find
anything for New York specifically, that would be even better.  Thanks
so much -- I look forward to seeing a great answer!
Subject: Re: Help With Our Public Library
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 20 Jul 2005 15:24 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again.

I'm glad that the NCES report I found is on target for what you need.  

There's a lot of information on NY in the report, though it obviously
means filtering through their 100-some odd tables to pull out the
relevant numbers.

I haven't come across any other online sources of data.  But I have
found two sources that you may want to check out in more detail.  You
may have some relevant materials in your own collection, but if not,
you can contact these two reference sources:

Public Library Data Service Statistical Report
2004 PLDS Statistical Report Now Available

The Public Library Association publishes this annual statistical
survey.  It is available for sale, with a discount for memebers.  It
looks like it has much of the information you're after.

There's also information collected by the Federal-State Cooperative
System (FSCS) for Public Library Data:

This is the federal effort that goes into collecting the data for the
NCES report that I originally linked you to.  Each state has an
information collection coordinator listed in this FSCS document:

The coordinator for NY is:

Div. of Library Development
Cultural Education Center; Room 10B41
Albany, NY 12230
TELEPHONE: 518-474-4883
FAX: 518-486-5254

You may wish to contact Ms. Kelly for additional survey information.

I trust this information fully answers your question.  

However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need.  If you would like any additional information, just post a
Request for Clarification to let me know how I can assist you further,
and I'm at your service.

All the best,


search strategy -- Google searches on:

"public libraries" statistics

"public libraries" associations
hermanmelville-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
I think your answer was right on target!  The links you provided were
very useful and appropriate.  Also, they were easy to navigate for
specific info.  I also appreciate providing the data coordinators and
that for NY.  It was an extra expert resource that many would ignore. 
How long did it take you to answer this once all was said and done?
The info could not have been too out in the open!  Anyway, you deserve
the tip I promised for a good answer, at long last.  Thanks!

Subject: Re: Help With Our Public Library
From: myoarin-ga on 12 Jul 2005 14:54 PDT
I expect that a researcheg will delve deeper in this subject, but
these sites could be a help:

and many more.

Search:  libraries statistics
         "public libraries" statistics.

and on funding:

and others found with  "public libraries" finance OR funding

Subject: Re: Help With Our Public Library
From: ruid01-ga on 16 Jul 2005 14:23 PDT
Go to

It will allow you to search public libraries (pick that option on the
right side) and set your state/city for the search. Click on the
individual results and a window will pop up with some brief info, in
this new window look for the link entitled More Information and it
will take close this new window and go back to the old one. In the old
page you should be given some more information with the Library System
in link. Click on the Library System and it will send you to a new
page where you can click on other links for information such as:

Income & Expenditures  
Collection & Services  

hope this helps
Subject: Re: Help With Our Public Library
From: pafalafa-ga on 24 Jul 2005 05:34 PDT

Thanks so much for your kind words and generous feedback....much appreciated.

Hope we'll see you back here at GA one of these days.


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy