Sunday, May 30, 2010

Quotable Facts About America’s Libraries 2010

o 62% of adults in the U.S. have public library cards (Harris 2010 survey)
o Americans go to school, public and academic libraries nearly three times more often than they go to the movies.
o Reference librarians in the nation’s public and academic libraries answer nearly 5.7 million questions weekly. Standing single file, the line of questioners would span from Long Island, New York, to Juneau, Alaska.
o A 2009 poll conducted for the American Library Association found that 96% respondents agreed that public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed because it provides free access to materials and resources.

o Seattle, WA—Visits to the new public library have increased King County tourism. Increased tourism of 1 % yields $1 billion in new economic activity statewide over 25 years.
o Maryland—An overwhelming 90 percent of the state’s citizens say public libraries are “a good investment.” *More than 40 percent of the state’s citizens think of public librar- ies as an economic anchor, potentially attracting “good businesses” to their area.
o Texas—90% of households agreed that during economic hard times, public libraries provide important resources to families and job seekers.
o South Carolina—The total direct and indirect return on investment for every $1 expended on the state’s public libraries by SC State and local governments is $4.48—almost 350%!

o There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.—a total of 16,604 including branches.
o Americans spend more than twice as much on candy as they do on public libraries.
o Americans check out an average of more than seven books a year. They spend $34.95 a year for the public library—about the average cost of one hardcover book.
o Public libraries are the number one point of online access for people without internet connections at home, school or work.
o 98.7% of public libraries provide public access to the Internet.
o More than 65% of public libraries provide services for job seekers.

o Academic librarians answer 56.1 million reference questions each year—reaching almost 10 million more than attend college football games.
o College libraries receive just less than six cents of every dollar spent on higher education.
o If the cost of People magazine had risen as fast as the cost of academic library periodicals since 1990, it would cost about $182 for a one-year subscription.
o There are 542 students enrolled for every librarian in U.S. 2– and 4-year colleges and universities in 2008, as compared with 4.3 students for each teaching faculty member.
o Research shows the highest achieving students attend schools with well-staffed and well-funded library media centers.
o The average copyright year for health and medicine titles in school libraries is 1995—a student using these resources would not learn about mad cow disease outbreak in Britain (1996) or about the cloning of Dolly the sheep (1997).
o Students make 1.5 billion visits to school library media centers during the school year—this is 140 million more than attendances made to movie theatres in 2008.
o Americans spend over 20 times as much money on home video games ($21.3 billion) as they do on school library materials for their children ($1 billion).
o School libraries spend an average of $12.06 per student on library media—about two-thirds the cost of a single fiction title ($17.63) or about one-third the cost of a single non-fiction title ($27.04).
o Students make 1.5 billion visits to school library media centers during the school year—or 5.5 times as many visits to national parks.

Sources: ALA Office for Research & Statistics, ALA Public Information Office. All facts compiled in2009.
For more information please contact:
Office for Library Advocacy
American Library Association
50 E. Huron St., Chicago, Illinois, 60611
Telephone: 1.800.545.2433, x 2428

Created in cooperation with the ALA Office for Research & Statistics; and the ALA Public Information Office.
This quote card is made possible by the ALA Library Champions in support of America’s Libraries:

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