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Academic Libraries Information Center

The purpose of the Academic Libraries Survey (ALS) is to collect information on library resources, services, and expenditures from academic libraries serving degree-granting, Title IV postsecondary institutions in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the outlying areas. The ALS was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on a 3-year cycle between 1966 and 1988, within the framework of the Higher Education General Information System (HEGIS). Between 1988 and 1998, the ALS was a component of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and was collected on a 2-year cycle. Between 2000 and 2012, the Academic Libraries Survey was conducted independently of IPEDS but remained on a 2-year cycle. Since 2014, the ALS has been reintegrated back into the IPEDS collection as the Academic Libraries (AL) component and is collected annually. The resources available on this page provide guidance on the reintegration of the ALS back into IPEDS and supplementary instructions for completing the AL component.

Comparing AL and ALS

In 2014, the ALS was reintegrated back into the IPEDS collection and the survey became a mandatory, annual survey for all degree-granting Title IV institutions. Only institutions with library expenses equal to or greater than $100,000 are now required to report additional details about their expenses to IPEDS. Questions related to library staff have been moved to the IPEDS Human Resources component. Many questions from the 2012 ALS collections and services sections were removed or revised. The following resources provide additional information about the reintegration of the ALS into IPEDS and differences between the ALS and AL:

Data Collection:

The data submission process for the AL component differs from the process under the ALS. With the ALS, NCES collaborated with the Census Bureau to designate library respondents at postsecondary institutions to be responsible for data entry and submission. State-level library representatives were available to promote responses and assist with problem resolution. With the AL, NCES-designated keyholders at each postsecondary institution are responsible for data submission. During the AL registration process, keyholders are encouraged to reach out to library contacts at their institutions to request assistance with the AL component and to update the registration page with an active Academic Libraries contact and to designate those contacts as users in the data collection system. AL users can help with data entry but the keyholder is ultimately responsible for verifying data and locking the survey. The following resources provide information about the current AL component:

Data Availability

Academic libraries data enable policy makers, institutions, and researchers to analyze programs, plan and develop library resources, and make key decisions about resource allocations. Academic Libraries data are available for the selected years through the following websites:

Additional Resources:

Further questions about the Academic Libraries component can be addressed by the IPEDS Help Desk at 1-877-225-2568 or