For immediate release | November 1, 2013

ACRL releases '2012 Academic Library Trends and Statistics'

CHICAGOThe Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces the publication of “2012 Academic Library Trends and Statistics,” the latest in a series of annual publications that describe the collections, staffing, expenditures and service activities of academic libraries in all Carnegie classifications. The three-volume set includes Associate of Arts institutions, Master's Colleges and Universities/Baccalaureate Colleges, and Research/Doctoral-granting Institutions. The individual volumes for Associates Colleges, Masters/Baccalaureate and Doctoral-Granting institutions are also available for purchase.

The 2012 data show that library expenditures for collection materials increased 7.3 percent over 2011. Baccalaureate schools increased their spending by an average of 11 percent; associate degree-granting institutions increased spending by an average of 5.4 percent; comprehensive degree-granting institutions spent 6.9 percent more on average and doctoral degree-granting institutions spent 7.1 percent more than in 2011.The percentage of the collection materials budget spent on ongoing resources purchases (including subscription expenditures) averaged 64.8 percent of the total materials budget. On average, doctoral degree granting institutions spent 72.4 percent of their materials budgets on ongoing purchases in 2012; comprehensive schools spent an average of 71.4 percent; baccalaureate schools spent an average 65.9 percent and associate degree granting institutions spent an average of 49.4 percent.

The 2012 data show that library expenditures for salaries and wages increased 3.7 percent over 2011. Salary and wages expenditures increased only slightly for comprehensive institutions (by 0.4 perfect) while increasing 9.4 percent for baccalaureate schools. On average, doctoral degree-granting institutions increased salaries and wage expenditures by 4.1 percent and associate degree-granting institutions increased spending by an average of 3.2 percent. Salaries and wages constituted 74.2 percent of total library expenditures for associate-degree granting institutions, 52.7 percent for baccalaureate, 53.4 percent for comprehensive schools and 44.1 percent for doctoral/research institutions.

In the past year 76 percent of all academic libraries reported using social media, with Facebook, blogs and Twitter being the top three. The top three reasons for using social media include promotion of library services, marketing of events and community building.

The 2012 survey includes data from 1,495 academic libraries in six major categories:

  • Collections (including titles held, volumes and electronic books);
  • Expenditures (library materials, salaries and wages, etc.);
  • Personnel and Public Services (staff and services);
  • Ph.D.s Granted, Faculty, Student Enrollment;
  • Social Media Use;
  • Awareness and use of ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education.

The survey also provides analysis of selected variables and summary data (high, low, mean and median) for all elements. The 2012 data can be used for self-studies, budgeting, strategic planning, annual reports, grant applications and benchmarking.

2012 Academic Library Trends and Statistics” is available for purchase through the ALA Online Store, by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the U.S. or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,500 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.


Mary Jane Petrowski

Associate Director