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Education Statistics Quarterly
Vol 4, Issue 3, Topic: Libraries
Public Libraries in the United States: Fiscal Year 2000
By: Adrienne Chute, P. Elaine Kroe, Patricia Garner, Maria Polcari, and Cynthia Jo Ramsey
 
This article was originally published as the Introduction and Highlights of the E.D. Tabs report of the same name. The universe data are from the NCES Public Libraries Survey (PLS).
 
 

Introduction

The tables in this report summarize information about public libraries in the 50 states and the District of Columbia for state fiscal year (FY) 2000. (Data from four outlying areas—Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—are also included in the tables, but not in the table totals.) The data were collected through the Public Libraries Survey (PLS), conducted annually by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) through the Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS) for Public Library Data. The FY 2000 survey is the 13th in the series.1

This report includes information about service measures such as access to the Internet and other electronic services, number of Internet terminals used by staff only, number of Internet terminals used by the general public, reference transactions, public service hours, interlibrary loans, circulation, library visits, children's program attendance, and circulation of children's materials. It also includes information about size of collection, staffing, operating income and expenditures, type of geographic service area, type of legal basis, type of administrative structure, and number and type of public library service outlets.2 Data were imputed for nonresponding libraries.

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Number of Public Libraries and Population of Legal Service Area
  • There were 9,074 public libraries (administrative entities) in the 50 states and the District of Columbia in FY 2000.
  • Ninety-seven percent3 of the total population of the states and the District of Columbia were served by public libraries, either in legally established geographic service areas or in areas under contract.
  • Eleven percent of the public libraries served 71 percent of the population of legally served areas in the United States; each of these public libraries had a legal service area population of 50,000 or more.
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Service Outlets
  • In FY 2000, 81 percent of public libraries had one single direct service outlet (an outlet that provides service directly to the public). Nineteen percent had more than one direct service outlet. Types of direct service outlets include central library outlets, branch library outlets, and bookmobile outlets.
  • A total of 1,501 public libraries (17 percent) had one or more branch library outlets, with a total of 7,383 branch outlets. The total number of central library outlets was 8,915. The total number of stationary outlets (central library outlets and branch library outlets) was 16,298. Eight percent of public libraries had one or more bookmobile outlets, with a total of 884 bookmobiles.
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Legal Basis
  • In FY 2000, 55 percent of public libraries were part of a municipal government, 11 percent were part of a county/parish, 10 percent were nonprofit association libraries or agency libraries, 9 percent were separate government units known as library districts, 5 percent had multijurisdictional legal basis under an intergovernmental agreement, 3 percent were part of a school district, and 1 percent were part of a city/county. Six percent reported their legal basis as "other."
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Operating Income and Expenditures

Operating income
  • In FY 2000, 77 percent of public libraries' total operating income of about $7.7 billion came from local sources, 13 percent from state sources, 1 percent from federal sources, and 9 percent from other sources such as monetary gifts and donations, interest, library fines, and fees.
  • Nationwide, the average total per capita4 operating income for public libraries was $28.96. Of that, $22.31 was from local sources, $3.70 from state sources, $0.21 from federal sources, and $2.73 from other sources.
  • Per capita operating income from local sources was under $3.00 for 9 percent of public libraries, $3.00 to $14.99 for 39 percent of libraries, $15.00 to $29.99 for 32 percent of libraries, and $30.00 or more for 20 percent of libraries.
Operating expenditures
  • Total operating expenditures for public libraries were $7 billion in FY 2000. Of this, 64 percent was ex-pended for paid staff and 15 percent for the library collection.
  • Thirty-two percent of public libraries had operating expenditures of less than $50,000, 41 percent expended $50,000 to $399,999, and 27 percent expended $400,000 or more.
  • Nationwide, the average per capita operating expenditure for public libraries was $26.42. The highest average per capita operating expenditure was $47.40, and the lowest was $12.08.
  • Expenditures for library collection materials in electronic format were 1 percent of total operating expenditures for public libraries. Expenditures for electronic access were 3 percent of total operating expenditures.
Staff
  • Public libraries had a total of 130,102 paid full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff in FY 2000, or 12.23 paid FTE staff per 25,000 population. Of these, 23 percent, or 2.78 per 25,000 population, were librarians with the ALA-MLS;5 10 percent were librarians by title but did not have the ALA-MLS; and 67 percent were in other positions.
  • Forty-four percent of all public libraries, or 4,034 libraries, had librarians with the ALA-MLS.
Collections
  • Nationwide, public libraries had 761 million books and serial volumes in their collections in FY 2000, or 2.9 volumes per capita. By state, the number of volumes per capita ranged from 1.8 to 5.1.
  • Public libraries nationwide had 32 million audio materials and 22 million video materials in their collections.
  • Nationwide, public libraries provided 6.2 materials in electronic format per 1,000 population (e.g., CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and magnetic disks).
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Library Services

Children's services
  • Nationwide, circulation of children's materials was 625 million in FY 2000, or 36 percent of total circulation. Attendance at children's programs was 49 million.
Internet access and electronic services
  • Nationwide, 95 percent of public libraries had access to the Internet. Eighty-nine percent of all public libraries made the Internet available to patrons directly or through a staff intermediary, 4 percent of public libraries made the Internet available to patrons through a staff intermediary only, and 2 percent of public libraries made the Internet available only to library staff.
  • Internet terminals available for public use in public libraries nationwide numbered 99,453, or 1.9 per 5,000 population. The average number of Internet terminals per service outlet6 available for public use was 5.8.
  • Ninety-nine percent7 of the unduplicated population of legal service areas had access to the Internet through their local public library.
  • Nationwide, 85 percent of public libraries provided access to electronic services.8
Other services
  • Total nationwide circulation of public library materials was 1.7 billion, or 6.4 materials circulated per capita. The highest circulation per capita was 12.8, and the lowest was 1.9.
  • Nationwide, 16 million library materials were loaned by public libraries to other libraries.
  • Nationwide, reference transactions in public libraries totaled 291 million, or 1.1 reference transactions per capita.
  • Nationwide, library visits in public libraries totaled 1.1 billion, or 4.3 library visits per capita.
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Footnotes

1Trend data from some of the earlier surveys are discussed in Public Library Trends Analysis: 1992–1996 (Glover 2001), a Statistical Analysis Report released by NCES in the summer of 2001.

2See the glossary in the full report for definitions of the terms used in the report.

3This percentage was derived by dividing the total unduplicated population of legal service areas (including areas served under contract) in the United States by the sum of the official state total population estimates as reported by the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Also see Data File, Public Use: Public Libraries Survey: Fiscal Year 2000 (NCES 2002–341), on the NCES web site.

4Per capita figures are based on the total unduplicated population of legal service areas (which excludes populations of unserved areas) in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, not on the state total population estimates.

5Librarians with master's degrees from programs of library and information studies accredited by the American Library Association.

6The average was calculated by dividing the total number of Internet terminals available for public use by the total number of service outlets (central, branches, and bookmobiles).

7This percentage was derived by summing the unduplicated population of legal service areas for (1) all public libraries in which the Internet was used by patrons through a staff intermediary only and (2) all public libraries in which the Internet was used by patrons either directly or through a staff intermediary, and then dividing the total by the unduplicated population of legal service areas in the United States. Also see Data File, Public-Use: Public Libraries Survey: Fiscal Year 2000 (NCES 2002–341), on the NCES web site.

8Access to electronic services refers to electronic services (e.g., bibliographic and full-text databases, multimedia products) provided by the library due to subscription, lease, license, consortial membership or agreement. It includes full-text serial subscriptions and electronic databases received by the library or an organization associated with the library.

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Reference

Glover, D. (2001). Public Library Trends Analysis: Fiscal Years 1992–1996 (NCES 2001–324). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.


Data source: The NCES Public Libraries Survey (PLS), fiscal year 2000.

For technical information, see the complete report:

Chute, A., Kroe, P.E., Garner, P., Polcari, M., and Ramsey, C.J. (2002). Public Libraries in the United States: Fiscal Year 2000 (NCES 2002–344).

Author affiliations: A. Chute and P.E. Kroe, NCES; P. Garner, M. Polcari, and C.J. Ramsey, U.S. Census Bureau.

For questions about content, contact Adrienne Chute (adrienne.chute@ed.gov).

To obtain the complete report (NCES 2002–344), visit the NCES Electronic Catalog (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch).


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