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Digest of Education Statistics: 2012
Digest of Education Statistics: 2012

NCES 2014-015
December 2013

Chapter 7: Libraries and Educational Technology

This chapter contains statistics on libraries and adult education. These data provide a capsule description of the magnitude and availability of library resources as well as the extent of adults’ involvement in educational activities other than postsecondary degree programs.

The first section of the chapter (tables 478 to 483) deals with elementary and secondary school libraries, college and university libraries, and public libraries. It contains data on collections, population served, staff, and expenditures. Table 482 provides institutional-level information for the 60 largest college libraries in the country.

The second section of the chapter (tables 484 to 486) provides information about adults’ participation in various types of educational activities, including basic skills and General Educational Development (GED) classes, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, career-related classes, and personal-interest classes. Information on participation is shown for adults having various demographic characteristics and for adults living in different states.

Libraries

Among public schools that had a library in 2007–08, the average number of library staff per school was 1.7, including 0.8 certified library/media specialists (table 478). On average, public school libraries had larger numbers of books on a per student basis in 2007–08 (2,015 per 100 students) than in 1999–2000 (1,803 per 100 students) and 2003–04 (1,891 per 100 students). In 2007–08, public elementary school libraries had larger holdings than public secondary school libraries on a per student basis (2,316 books per 100 students, compared with 1,432 books per 100 students).

At postsecondary degree-granting institutions, library operating expenditures per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student were 1 percent higher in 2001–02 than in 1991–92, after adjustment for inflation (table 481). From 2001–02 to 2009–10, library operating expenditures per FTE student dropped 21 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars. Overall, there was a net decrease of 20 percent in library operating expenditures per FTE student between 1991–92 and 2009–10. In 2009–10, library operating expenditures per FTE student averaged $441 (in current dollars) across all degree-granting institutions. The amount varied widely by institution control, however. Library operating expenditures averaged $849 per FTE student attending a private nonprofit institution in 2009–10, compared with $374 per FTE student attending a public institution, and $71 per FTE student attending a private for-profit institution. In 2009–10, the average number of volumes per FTE student also differed for public institutions (61 volumes), private nonprofit institutions (131 volumes), and private for-profit institutions (3 volumes). Across all degree-granting institutions, the average number of volumes per FTE student in 2009–10 was 69, which was 4 percent less than in 1991–92. The calculations of library operating expenditures and number of volumes per FTE student include both institutions with libraries and those without libraries. In 2009–10, there were libraries at 82 percent of degree-granting institutions overall, 93 percent of public institutions, 89 percent of private nonprofit institutions, and 57 percent of private for-profit institutions.

In 2009, there were 9,225 public libraries in the United States with a total of 816 million books and serial volumes (table 483). The annual number of visits per capita—that is, per resident of the areas served by the libraries—was 5.4, and the annual number of reference transactions per capita was 1.0.

Adult Education

The percentage of adults who reported participating in any adult education courses was higher in 2005 (44 percent) than in 1995 (40 percent) (table 486). Adults are defined here as people age 17 and over who are not enrolled in high school, and the same individual could report participating in multiple types of courses. In 2005, the percentage of adults who participated in career- or job-related courses (27 percent) was higher than the percentage who participated in personal-interest courses (21 percent). About 1 percent of adults participated in each of the following three types of adult education activities: basic skills/GED classes, ESL classes, and apprenticeship programs.

Among people age 17 and over who were employed, 39 percent participated in career- or job-related courses in 2005 (table 485). Participation rates varied for employees with different characteristics. For example, employed women’s participation in career- or job-related courses was higher than that of employed men in 2005 (47 percent vs. 32 percent). For employees with some vocational or technical education, employees with some college (but no degree), and employees with an associate’s or higher degree, rates of participation in career- or job-related courses were generally higher than for employees with less than high school completion or high school completion. For example, 53 percent of employees whose highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree took such courses in 2005, compared with 25 percent of employees whose highest level was high school completion.

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