ALA Library Fact Sheets

The ALA Library receives inquiries from librarians across the country and around the world, as well as from the general public, on a wide variety of library topics. We have prepared fact sheets on the most asked-about topics, as noted below.

If you don't see your topic, or if you need more information than is provided on the fact sheets, feel free to 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.

Resources for Frequently Asked Questions About Libraries

List of Library Fact Sheets

ALA Library Fact Sheet 1 - Number of Libraries in the United States
Number of libraries in the U.S. broken down by type of library.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 2 - Number Employed in Libraries
Number of persons employed in libraries.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 3 - Lists of Libraries
Names the various library directories (including the American Library Directory published by Information Today, Inc.), provides contact information on the library organizations and companies that sell mailing lists and mailing labels of libraries, including ALA -- ALA Mail List Rental -- and suggests a method to compile e-mail addresses for libraries.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 4 - Library Operating Expenditures: A Selected Annotated Bibliography
Selective listing of resources for determining the costs of running various types of libraries.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 5 - Marketing to Libraries
Strategies for informing the library community about your product or service, especially books.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 6 - Public Library Use
Lists the recent studies that document public library use by patrons, which include the opinions that patrons have about public libraries.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 7 - Video and Copyright
Guidelines on the use of videotapes in libraries (and classrooms), as well as links to the web sites of companies that sell public performance rights licenses.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 8 - Interlibrary Loans
Gives information on the latest version of the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States and links over to where the interlibrary loan form can be downloaded as an Adobe Reader PDF document as well as a Microsoft Word file (which can be edited). Also provides guidance and bibliography on international interlibrary loan.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 9 - Library Products, Services and Consultants
Names print and online directories of library vendors and library consultants, including the American Libraries Buyers Guide.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 10 - Disaster Response: A Selected Annotated Bibliography
Selective listing of resources to help libraries respond to disasters, including water damage to books.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 11 - Building Libraries and Library Additions: A Selected Annotated Bibliography
Selective listing of resources on creating new library buildings as well as on adding on or renovating existing library buildings. Includes resources on ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliance and library building consultants.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 12 - Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs
Lists resources for finding the various groups and organizations that accept book donations for distribution in the United States as well as in countries overseas.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 13 - The Nation's Largest Public Libraries: Top 25 Rankings
Lists the top 25 public libraries in the United States by population served, by library collection, by circulation, and by library visits.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 14 - Moving Libraries
Lists the companies that offer relocation services to libraries, as well as a selected annotated bibliography.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 15 - Weeding Library Collections: A Selected Annotated Bibliography for Library Collection Evaluation
Annotated bibliography of resources informing on the process of discarding books from a library collection, focusing on collection development and collection evaluation.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 16 - Setting Up A Library: A Resource Guide
Bibliography of periodical, book, and website resources for general information about starting a library, with some specific resources for Academic, Church/Synagogue, Home/Family and Public libraries.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 16a - Setting Up an International Library
Bibliography of periodical, book and website resources for setting up a library outside of the United States and Canada.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 16b - Setting Up a School Library
Bibliography of periodical, book and website resources for setting up a school library.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 16c - Setting Up a Special Library
Bibliography of periodical, book and website resources for setting up a Special Library. Specific resources are targeted to small libraries, medical/health sciences libraries, office/corporate libraries, and one-person libraries (OPLs).

ALA Library Fact Sheet 17 - Library Summer Reading Programs
Overview of summer reading programs, especially the nation-wide Collaborative Summer Library Program administered by the state libraries, along with links to several online articles and other resources addressing their educational importance and influence in developing childhood literacy.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 18 - Cataloging Tools
Provides information on RDA, AACR2, Dewey Decimal Classification® (DDC®) and the OCLC Dewey Cutter Program, Library of Congress Classification (LCC), Sears List of Subject Headings, MARC, BISAC, Classification Web, and the Cataloger's Desktop.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 19 - Virtual Reference
A selection of articles, web resources, and some vendor information that provides an introduction to the issues to consider when contemplating the implementation of virtual reference services.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 20 - Joint-Use Libraries: A Bibliography
Lists books and articles reporting on various joint-use/combined libraries across the country, especially public/school libraries.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 21 - Automating Libraries: A Selected Annotated Bibliography
Lists resources for adding and using technology to perform various library duties, especially computer systems and software for cataloging.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 22 - The Nation's Largest Libraries. A Listing By Volumes Held
Tally of the 100 largest libraries in the United States, in order by size of each library's collection.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 23 - Recommended Reading
Direct links to ALA's various reading lists and its lists of literary recognition and book award winners, sorted by age group.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 24 - Library Fund Raising: A Selected Annotated Bibliography
Guidance on securing financial backing for your library.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 25 - RFID: A Brief Bibliography
Brief bibliography of ALA and other resources on Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, technology, and its use in libraries.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 26 - Internet Access and Digital Holdings in Libraries
Statistics on internet access and digital holdings and materials, including Wi-Fi and ebooks; computer use training; filtering use; information on selecting and installing filters; CIPA; additional resources.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 27 - Filing Rules
Library fact sheet with information on Filing Rules.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 28 - ISBN and ISSN Systems
Brief history of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), explains how to get these identification numbers for your own publications.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 29 - Links to Library Web Resources
Selected list of web sites that provide valuable information about libraries and librarianship. Includes links to the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office, the Schools and Libraries Division (e-rate discount organization), a list of library-oriented e-mail mailing lists, the National Center for Education Statistics Public Libraries in the United States survey series, and a list of state library web sites.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 30 - National Library Symbol/Library Symbol Highway Sign
History of the National Library Symbol. Free downloads of National Library Symbol as EPS, JPG files.


Last updated: August 2014