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Digest of Education Statistics: 2006
Digest of Education Statistics: 2006

NCES 2007-017
July 2007

Appendix A.2. Library Statistics Program

Public library statistics are collected annually by NCES using the Public Libraries Survey (PLS) and disseminated annually through the Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS) for Public Library Data. Descriptive statistics are produced for over 9,200 public libraries. The PLS includes information about staffing; operating income and expenditures; type of governance; type of administrative structure; size of collection; and service measures such as reference transactions, public service hours, interlibrary loans, circulation, and library visits. In FSCS, respondents supply the information electronically, and data are edited and tabulated in machine-readable form.

The respondents are 9,200 public libraries identified in the 50 states and the District of Columbia by state library agencies. At the state level, FSCS is administered by State Data Coordinators, appointed by the Chief Officer of each State Library Agency. The State Data Coordinator collects the requested data from local public libraries and submits these data to NCES. An annual training conference sponsored by NCES is provided for the State Data Coordinators. A steering committee representing State Data Coordinators and other public library constituents is active in the development of FSCS data elements and software. Technical assistance to states is provided by phone and in person by the FSCS steering committee and by NCES staff and contractors. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have submitted data for individual public libraries, which are also aggregated to state and national levels.

Since 1994, NCES has conducted the State Library Agencies (StLA) Survey for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. A state library agency is the official agency of a state that is charged by state law with the extension and development of public library services throughout the state and that has adequate authority under state law to administer state plans in accordance with the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) of 2003. The StLA Survey collects data on services, collections, staffing, revenue, and expenditures.

Beginning on October 1, 2007, the PLS and the StLA Survey will be conducted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The transfer of these surveys to IMLS is the result of President Bush's fiscal year 2007 budget request.

Under the Academic Libraries Survey (ALS), NCES surveyed academic libraries on a 3-year cycle between 1966 and 1988. From 1988 through 1999, ALS was a component of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and was on a 2-year cycle. Beginning with fiscal year (FY) 2000, ALS was no longer a component of IPEDS, but it remains on a 2-year cycle. ALS provides data on about 3,700 academic libraries. In aggregate, these data provide an overview of the status of academic libraries nationally and statewide. The survey collects data on the libraries in the entire universe of degree-granting institutions. Beginning with the collection of FY 2000 data, the ALS changed to web-based data collection. ALS produces descriptive statistics on academic libraries in postsecondary institutions in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the outlying areas.

School library data were collected on the School and Principal Surveys during the 1990–91 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). The School Library Media Centers (LMC) Survey became a component of SASS with the 1993–94 administration. Since then, the LMC Survey has been conducted during the 1999–2000 and 2003–04 school years. During the 2003–04 administration, only the public and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) school library media centers were surveyed. School library questions focus on staff, collections, equipment, services, and expenditures.

Further information on the Library Statistics Program may be obtained from

Barbara Holton
Elementary/Secondary and Library Studies Division
Elementary/Secondary Sample Survey Studies Program
National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006