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Academic Libraries: 2008
NCES 2010-348
December 2009

Selected Findings

Services

  • During Fiscal year (FY) 2008, there were about 138.1 million circulation transactions from academic libraries' general collection (table 1).
  • Academic libraries loaned some 11.1 million documents to other libraries in FY 2008 (table 1). Academic libraries also borrowed approximately 10.7 million documents from other libraries and commercial services. Documents from commercial services accounted for about 936,000 of those documents borrowed.
  • Academic libraries loaned some 11.1 million documents to other libraries in FY 2008 (table 1). Academic libraries also borrowed approximately 10.7 million documents from other libraries and commercial services. Documents from commercial services accounted for about 936,000 of those documents borrowed.
  • The majority of academic libraries, 2,530, were open between 60-99 hours during a typical week in FY 2008 (derived from table 2). Another 683 academic libraries were open between 40-59 hours per typical week, and 532 were open more than 100 hours per typical week.
  • During a typical week in the fall of 2008, approximately 1.1 million academic library reference transactions were conducted, including computer searches (table 3).

Collections

  • At the end of FY 2008, there were 226 academic libraries that held 1 million or more books, serial backfiles, and other paper materials including government documents (table 4)
  • Academic libraries held approximately 102.5 million e-books and about 3.6 million electronic reference sources and aggregation services at the end of FY 2008 (table 5).
  • In FY 2008, academic libraries added approximately 24.0 million books, serial backfiles, and other paper materials, including government documents (table 6).

Staff

  • Academic libraries reported 93,438 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff working in academic libraries during the fall of 2008 (table 7).
  • Academic libraries reported 27,030 FTE librarians during the fall of 2008 (table 7). Librarians accounted for about 29 percent of the total number of FTE staff in academic libraries during the fall of 2008.

Expenditures

  • Academic libraries' expenditures totaled approximately $6.8 billion during FY 2008 (table 8).
  • During FY 2008, academic libraries spent about $3.3 billion on salaries and wages, representing approximately 49 percent of total library expenditures (table 9).
  • Academic libraries spent about $2.7 billion on information resources during FY 2008 (table 9).
  • Academic libraries spent approximately $133.6 million for electronic books, serial backfiles, and other materials in FY 2008 (table 10). Expenditures for electronic current serial subscriptions were about $1.0 billion.
  • During FY 2008, academic libraries spent approximately $113.4 million for bibliographic utilities, networks, and consortia (table 11).

Electronic Services

  • In Fall 2008, some 72 percent of academic libraries provided library reference service by e-mail or the Web (table 12).
  • Nearly half (49 percent) reported providing technology to assist patrons with disabilities in Fall 2008 (table 12).

Information Literacy

  • During FY 2008, some 46 percent of academic libraries reported that their postsecondary institution defined information literacy or the information literate student (table 13).
  • During FY 2008, about 33 percent of academic libraries reported that their postsecondary institution had incorporated information literacy into its mission (table 13).

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