Libraries in the United States are used for all sorts of reasons - education, information, self-improvement, and recreation. While libraries were originally established as book-lending centers, their role has changed and expanded over the years. There are over nine thousand public libraries and more than 125,000 librarians across the United States, all of which offer a wide variety of resources and services to the communities they serve.

Library funding

Public libraries receive more than 80 percent of their funding from local government , but also from grant programs , and donations. Per capita operating expenditure has experienced a general increase over time, rising more than 30 percent between 1995 and 2019 , despite peaking in 2009. There are, however, spending discrepancies across states. New York, for example, spends more than four times that of the state of Mississippi per head . New York is additionally home to the most libraries of any state , as well as the New York Public Library, one of the largest libraries in the country by population served.

Library use

With the number of in-person visits declining since 2010 , libraries are taking on new roles and adapting to new habits of readers. Libraries across the country are increasingly offering diverse kinds of programs for all ages, such as story time for toddlers, afterschool programs for teens, and computer classes for adults and seniors. While the circulation of library items is down, the popularity of library programs has been increasing, with children's programs particularly popular . Additionally, changes in technology have had an impact on the way people consume materials. Since 2010, the number of print materials have been decreasing , while libraries have been expanding their electronic book collections significantly, with per capita e-book collections growing by more than three thousand percent between 2010 and 2019 .

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "Libraries in the U.S.".


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