Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey

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The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey, located in the new Benchmark tool, is the largest survey of academic libraries in the country, providing one of the most comprehensive portraits of the impact that academic libraries have across the United States.

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About the Survey

The Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey is composed of three parts:

IPEDS Component

Questions from the IPEDS Academic Libraries Component. Every institution of higher education receiving federal funding must respond to the IPEDS survey. The ACRL survey asks every library question required by IPEDS, with instructions and definitions completely aligned since 2015. ACRL survey results are available quickly, typically three months after the survey closes.

NCES Survey

Questions about academic libraries from the retired National Center for Education Statistics Academic Library Survey (2000-2012) as well as new questions based on feedback from survey participants.

Current Topics

Questions focused on a current topic or issue in academic libraries based on feedback from survey participants. The 2021 survey focuses on changes in library instruction and group presentations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Why should my library participate?

The value of the survey data is enhanced by the participation of all libraries representing all Carnegie Classifications. Compiling statistics takes time, but the contribution of your data is essential and extremely valuable for your colleagues. We are asking for your help to ensure that we have the data to assess trends in modern academic libraries, and, more importantly, to compile a national overview of the overall resources and impact of academic libraries.

Libraries face stiff competition on our campuses for funding, and in these times of limited resources, more and more academic libraries must include data in their funding and program requests. This is especially true for requests for outside funding. By participating in the 2021 survey, you are not only providing the profession with timely data to inform decision making at a wide variety of institutions, but you also help colleagues and researchers facilitate comparisons through benchmarking within peer groups, as well as helping libraries present data that demonstrate the value we provide to our institutions and beyond. The data may help make a case in a research study or inform the academic library profession globally. The requests for this type of data and possible uses are endless.

Related Resources

Image of the cover of 2019 Academic Library Trends & Statistics with a play button on top

Results Highlights: 2019 ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey
Recording of Presentation at the 2021 ALA Midwinter Meeting

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"How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Usage Data"
Article by Michael P. Hughes in College & Research Libraries, Nov. 2020

The ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey is administered by the ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board.