ACRL releases 2017 Academic Library Trends and Statistics

For Immediate Release
Tue, 07/31/2018


Mary Jane Petrowski

Associate Director


CHICAGO - The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces the publication of "2017 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 one-volume title includes data from Associate of Arts Colleges, Baccalaureate Colleges, Master's Colleges and Universities, and Research/Doctoral-granting Institutions. Those who purchase the print edition will receive a complimentary one-year subscription to the 2017 survey data available through ACRL Metrics, an online subscription service that provides access to the ACRL survey data from 1999-2017.

The 2017 data show that library expenditures for collection materials averaged $5,372,492 for doctoral degree-granting institutions; $689,091 for comprehensive degree-granting institutions; $486,470 for baccalaureate schools and $468,337 for associate-degree granting institutions. On average, doctoral degree granting institutions spent 76.3% of their materials budgets on ongoing commitments to subscriptions in 2017; comprehensive schools spent an average of 81.1%; baccalaureate schools spent an average 76.6%; and associate degree granting institutions spent an average of 32.4%. On average, academic libraries spent 73.8% of their materials budget on ongoing subscriptions.

The 2017 data show that expenditures for salaries and wages accounted for 56.3% of the total library expenditures on average. Salaries and wages constituted 65.8% of total library expenditures for associate-degree granting institutions, 64.9% for baccalaureates, 66.6% for comprehensive schools, and 53% for doctoral/research institutions.

Librarians are promoted through the ranks on the basis of their professional proficiency and effectiveness through a peer review system of standards consistent with other faculty at 26.3% of associate-degree granting institutions, 15.4% of baccalaureate schools, 24.5% of comprehensive schools, and 26.2% of doctoral/research institutions.

The 2017 survey includes data from 1,719 academic libraries in five major categories:

  • Collections (including titles held, volumes, and electronic books)
  • Expenditures (library materials, salaries and wages, etc.)
  • Library services
  • Staffing
  • Faculty status

The survey also provides analysis of selected variables and summary data (high, low, mean, and median) for all elements. The 2017 data can be used for self-studies, budgeting, strategic planning, annual reports, grant applications, and benchmarking.

"2017 Academic Library Trends and Statistics" is available for purchase through the ALA Online Store and 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 academic libraries and library workers. Representing more than 10,000 individuals and libraries, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products, and services to help those working in academic and research libraries 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.