PLA releases first Public Library Services for Strong Communities Report

For Immediate Release
Wed, 06/21/2023


Sara Goek

Project Manager, Data and Research

Public Library Association

2022 national survey documents public library programs, services, partnerships, and facilities

(CHICAGO) The Public Library Association (PLA) today published the Public Library Services for Strong Communities Report. The 2022 national survey explored types of public library program and services, the nature of partnerships with other organizations, and the state of library facilities. The survey is the third in a rotating series exploring public library roles, services, and resources to provide actionable data for decision-making and advocacy.

Key findings include:

  • The majority of public libraries (68%) offer elections services, such as voter registration, ballot drop-off, or serving as a polling place.
  • Virtually all libraries (99%) have summer reading programs for children, teens, and/or adults to support learning outside of school.
  • 78% of libraries offer job and career services currently and 24% have workforce development programs.
  • 17.5% of libraries have at least one type of mobile programming facility, including bookmobiles, cybermobiles, and mobile job centers.
  • 98% of public libraries have at least one type of partnership with an external organization (e.g., K-12 schools, government entities, and non-profits).
  • 40% of library buildings have not undergone major renovations in over two decades (since 2000 or earlier).
  • Half of libraries (50%) have special designations for emergencies, serving as cooling/warming centers in extreme temperatures, distribution centers during public health emergencies, and/or centers for community members and first responders during disaster recovery.

“I am so proud of the work PLA does with libraries across the country to gather and share vital information about our public library contributions to strong communities,” said PLA President Maria McCauley. “Nationally, this informs PLA’s advocacy and professional development opportunities and locally allows for public library benchmarking and advocacy for the investments needed to sustain and continuously improve our programs, services and facilities with community partners.”

In coordination with PLA’s Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment Committee, and representatives from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and state library agencies, the PLA surveys and reports complement and add detail to the annual Public Libraries Survey. The new PLA report also includes pointers and resources for action to address community needs such as food insecurity, workforce development, and renewable energy.

PLA invited all U.S. public library administrative entities to complete the survey in fall 2022. In total, 1,167 libraries participated, a response rate of 12.6%. The survey results are weighted to account for differences between responding libraries and the universe of all U.S. public libraries.

Learn more about the survey results in a free webinar on Tuesday, July 11. Public libraries can freely access their own responses and contribute to future PLA surveys through the Benchmark platform. To read the full 2022 report and explore other PLA data resources, please visit

About the Public Library Association
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. PLA is a division of the American Library Association (ALA). For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit