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Number Employed in Libraries

ALA Library Fact Sheet 2

The library work force includes librarians and other professionals, paraprofessionals, clerical and technical personnel. Statistics are not available for each category of personnel in each type of library. Instead this fact sheet summarizes the latest available statistics on the two major categories -- librarians and other professionals, and other paid staff -- in the three types of libraries for which reliable national figures are available from National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The numbers for public, academic, and school librarians below come from three NCES Library Statistics Program surveys: Public Libraries in the United States: Fiscal Year 2004 (2006); Academic Libraries: 2000 (2003); and unpublished tabulations from the Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999-2000 (2002), respectively.

Librarians Other
Paid Staff
Total Paid Staff
Academic Libraries 25,152 * 70,284 95,436
Public Libraries 45,037 90,977 136,014
School Libraries 66,471 99,557 166,028
Total 136,660 260,818 397,478

Comparable figures for employment in special libraries (e.g. libraries serving businesses, scientific agencies, hospitals, law firms, and nonprofit organizations) are not available. However, based on information available from several related associations in 2001, we estimate that approximately 15,307 librarians work in special libraries, bringing the total number of librarians to over 150,000. At this time, it is not possible to estimate the number of the other paid staff in special libraries.

* A small mathematical error reported this number as 70,291 in earlier versions. It should always have been 70,284.

October 2006

For more information on this or other fact sheets, contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail:; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.