PLA Surveys and Data

2022 Public Library Services for Strong Communities Survey - Now Open!
Deadline: December 10, 2022

All U.S. public libraries are invited to complete this new survey to help us better understand how libraries are utilizing their unique programs, services, partnerships, and facilities in support of community needs. The survey was developed by PLA’s Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment Committee in response to demand for actionable data to understand how and in what circumstances libraries engage, through their own efforts and partnerships, to help foster resilient communities.

To complete the survey, login to your library’s Benchmark account. Click on “Surveys” in the menu and you will see the PLA Services Survey listed under “Open Surveys.” All public library directors or your library’s contact in Benchmark should have received an invitation to this year’s survey. If you did not, please contact plabenchmark@ala.org for assistance in accessing your Benchmark account. Additional information about the survey can be found in this document (PDF).

Please complete the survey by Saturday, December 10, 2022. Survey participants are eligible for discounted subscriptions for upgraded access to the Benchmark data dashboards and are entered into a drawing to win PLA 2024 Conference registration. Complimentary PLA 2024 conference registration is limited to one registration per library. Housing and travel not included. A total of four registrations will be given away; one winner per library type (urban, suburban, town, and rural).

2021 Public Library Staff and Diversity Report cover2021 Public Library Staff and Diversity Survey
In fall 2021, PLA administered this survey better understand public library staff roles, hiring and retention practices, and equity, diversity, and inclusion work in US public libraries. The survey was developed by PLA’s Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment Committee in response to field-wide discussions and demand for actionable data about evolving staff roles and diversity and inclusion staffing efforts. Read the full survey summary report (published August 2022) and explore the data in Benchmark.

Join PLA on Tuesday, October 4 at 1:00 PM Central for a free webinar overview of the results of the 2021 annual survey, highlighting how the data suggests both opportunities and challenges for the future of public libraries. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn how to engage in PLA’s on-going data-related initiatives. Registration is required.

2020 Public Library Technology Survey report cover2020 Public Library Technology Survey
In late 2020, PLA fielded the 2020 Public Library Technology Survey to a national sample of public library directors at the administrative entity level. The survey gathered information about libraries’ public access technology infrastructure, technology-related programming, and technology-related funding streams.

Read the full survey report summary and a snapshot of public library technology lending. Explore the data in Benchmark.

Survey of the Public Library Field
PLA administered a Survey of the Public Library Field in February 2021. The survey was designed to inform PLA’s strategic planning process and to better understand the current needs of our members and the field. A selection of the survey results is presented here.

PLA Resources on COVID-19: Interactive Data Visualization
To address questions from library workers, policymakers, and the media, the Public Library Association (PLA) led a 2020 March survey and coordinated a May 2020 survey with others at the American Library Association (ALA) to understand library responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This interactive visualization brings together public library data from both surveys.