Where to find the numbers
Statistics About Libraries, provided by the ALA Office for Research and Statistics
Library Fact Sheets
The ALA Library responds to inquiries from staff and members, plus others who are interested in research about libraries. Here are the ALA Library Fact Sheets that provide a guide to sources for specific types of statistics about libraries in the United States.
Library Operating Expenditures: A Selected Annotated Bibliography (ALA Library Fact Sheet 4)
A selective listing of resources for determining the costs of running various types of libraries.
The Nation's Largest Libraries (ALA Library Fact Sheet 22)
A tally of the 100 largest libraries in the United States, in order by size of each library's collection, with source of the data provided.
Number of Libraries in the United States (ALA Library Fact Sheet 1)
There are over 120,000 libraries of all kinds in the United States today. No annual survey provides statistics on all types of libraries.
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.
Andrews, Sandra D. The Power of Data: An Introduction to Using Local, State, and National Data to Support School Library Programs. Chicago, Ill: American Association of School Librarians, 2012.
Boss, Richard W. Rethinking Library Statistics in a Changing Environment. PLA Tech Notes, 2006.
Cook, Douglas, and Lesley S. J. Farmer. Using Qualitative Methods in Action Research: How Librarians Can Get to the Why of Data. [Chicago]: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2011.
Davis, Hilary. "Not just another pretty picture." In the Library With the Lead Pipe, posted November 11, 2009.
Durrance, J. C., and K.E. Fisher. 2002. The Outcomes Toolkit 2.0. Ann Arbor, MI and Seattle, WA: University of Michigan and University of Washington.
Ellis, Simon, Michael Heaney, Pierre Meunier, and Roswitha Poll. 2009. "Global Library Statistics". IFLA Journal 35, no. 2: 123.
Hernon, Peter, Robert E. Dugan, and Danuta A. Nitecki. Engaging in Evaluation and Assessment Research. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited, 2011.
Hernon, Peter, and Ellen Altman. Assessing Service Quality: Satisfying the Expectations of Library Customers. Chicago: American Library Association, 1998.
Holt, Glen E., and Leslie Edmonds Holt, eds. 2008. "Learning Sites, References, and Notes: Statistics Need to Be Accurate." Public Library Quarterly 27, no. 1: 85-7.
Holt, Glen E., and Leslie Edmonds Holt, eds. 2005. "Churn Rate and Non-Users." Public Library Quarterly 24, no. 4: 107-9.
Klass, Gary M. Just Plain Data Analysis: Finding, Presenting, and Interpreting Social Science Data. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008.
Molyneux, Bob. 2005. "U.S. Public Library Data: A Unified Field Theory." Public Library Quarterly 24, no. 3: 3-19.
Mullan, James. 2007. "Metrics tools for service improvement." Library & Information Update 6, no. 12: 42-44.
Murgai, Sarla R. 2006. "Reference Use Statistics: Statistical Sampling Method Works." Southeastern Librarian 54, no. 1: 45-57.
Orcutt, Darby. Library Data: Empowering Practice and Persuasion. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited, 2010.
Wallace, Danny P., and Connie Jean Van Fleet. Knowledge into Action: Research and Evaluation in Library and Information Science. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited, 2012.
Welch, Jeanie M. 2007. "Click and Be Counted: A New Standard for Reference Statistics." Reference Librarian 47, no. 97: 95-104.