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Contact: Larra Clark
Press Officer


ALA PIO provides public libraries statistics and studies


"The Public Library: A National Survey"
Conducted by Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, 2003

Key findings:

  • The public values its libraries and is willing to pay more to support them.
  • Two-thirds of respondents said having access to a public library in their community was "very valuable."  Another 27 percent rated it "valuable," while only 2 percent said it was not valuable.
  • Sixty-three percent support or strongly support increasing taxes for public library services in their community.

The top five priorities for public library services were:

  • Reading programs for children
  • Open hours on evenings and weekends
  • Computers for public use
  • Homework help centers
  • Programs for senior citizens

Methodology: More than 1,000 interviews were conducted by phone using stratified random digit dial probability design to ensure broad representation.  Contact: Lee M. Miringoff, 845-575-5050

"Libraries: How they stack up"
Conducted by Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC), September 2003

Key Findings:

  • Libraries circulate more items every day than FedEx ships packages (5.4 million vs. 5.3 million items)
  • U.S. public library cardholders outnumber Amazon customers by almost 5 to 1.
  • Libraries record more than 1.1 billion visits each year, compared to 204 million sports tickets sold in a year.
  • One out of every six people in the world is a registered library user.
  • Libraries return substantially more benefits to its users for each $1 of annual local taxes.


National Library Week studies
American Library Association, 2002

These two national studies showed public library use went up when the economy went down, and that 91 percent of adults believe public libraries will play an important role in the future, despite all of the information available on the Internet.

For additional information visit


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