This chapter presents statistics on elementary and secondary school libraries, college and university libraries (including institution-level information for the 60 largest college libraries in the country), and public libraries. It contains data on library collections, staff, and expenditures, as well as library usage. Also included in this chapter are tables on access to and use of computers and the Internet among children and adults of various racial/ethnic groups, age groups, educational attainment levels, and income levels. Chapter 2 includes tables on use of computers and the Internet by elementary and secondary students and schools. Chapter 3 includes tables on distance and online education at the postsecondary level.
Among public schools that had a library in 2011–12, the average number of library staff per school was 1.8, including 0.9 certified library/media specialists (table 701.10). On average, public school libraries had larger numbers of books on a per student basis in 2011–12 (2,188 per 100 students) than in 1999–2000 (1,803 per 100 students), 2003–04 (1,891 per 100 students), and 2007–08 (2,015 per 100 students). In 2011–12, public elementary school libraries had larger holdings than public secondary school libraries on a per student basis (2,570 books per 100 students, compared with 1,474 books per 100 students).
In 2014–15, there were libraries at 92 percent of degree-granting postsecondary institutions overall, 98 percent of public institutions, 99 percent of private nonprofit institutions, and 77 percent of private for-profit institutions (table 701.40). The calculations of library operating expenditures and number of books per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student in the following paragraph include both institutions with libraries and those without libraries.
At degree-granting postsecondary institutions, library operating expenditures per FTE student were 1 percent higher in 2001–02 than in 1991–92, after adjustment for inflation. Library operating expenditures per FTE student dropped by 25 percent from 2001–02 to 2011–12 (in inflation-adjusted dollars), but then rose by 13 percent from 2011–12 to 2014–15, resulting in a net decrease of 15 percent between 2001–02 and 2014–15. In 2014–15, library operating expenditures per FTE student averaged $526 (in current dollars) across all degree-granting institutions. The amount varied widely by institution control, however. Library operating expenditures averaged $444 per FTE student attending a public institution in 2014–15, compared with $950 per FTE student attending a private nonprofit institution and $71 per FTE student attending a private for-profit institution. In 2014–15, the average number of books (including physical and electronic books) per FTE student also differed for public institutions (78 books), private nonprofit institutions (164 books), and private for-profit institutions (49 books). Across all degree-granting institutions, the average number of books per FTE student in 2014–15 was 95.
In 2014, there were 9,070 public libraries in the United States with a total of 765 million books and serial volumes (table 701.60). The annual number of visits per capita—that is, per resident of the areas served by the libraries—was 4.6, the annual number of reference transactions per capita was 0.9, and the annual number of uses of public-access internet computers per capita was 1.1.
Among all 3- to 18-year-old children living in households in 2015, a total of 94 percent had any type of computer or smartphone in their household (table 702.10). (Each household was counted only once in the total, regardless of the number or types of computers/devices reported.) Comparisons were also made between two categories of computers/devices: (1) a desktop, laptop, netbook, or notebook computer (referred to below as a "desktop/laptop") and (2) a handheld computer or smart mobile phone (referred to as a "smartphone"). A higher percentage of children lived in a household with a smartphone (89 percent) than in a household with a desktop/laptop (85 percent). The percentage of children who lived in a household with a desktop/laptop, in a household with a smartphone, and in a household with any type of computer/device differed by various demographic characteristics. For example, the percentage of children with a desktop/laptop in their household was higher for White children (91 percent) than for children who were Black (75 percent), Hispanic (75 percent), Pacific Islander (80 percent), or American Indian/Alaska Native (69 percent). The percentage who lived in a household with a smartphone was also higher for White children (92 percent) than for children who were Black (83 percent), Hispanic (83 percent), Pacific Islander (84 percent), or American Indian/Alaska Native (76 percent). The percentages of children in households with any type of computer/device, in households with a desktop/laptop, and in households with a smartphone were generally higher for children with higher family incomes than for those with lower family incomes (table 702.10 and figure 30). Among children with family incomes of $100,000 to $149,000, for example, 99 percent had any type of computer/device in their household; 96 percent had a desktop/laptop in their household; and 96 percent had a smartphone in their household. In contrast, 89 percent of children with family incomes of $20,000 to $29,000 had any type of computer/device in their household; 71 percent had a desktop/laptop in their household; and 80 percent had a smartphone in their household.
In 2015, 75 percent of the U.S. population age 3 and over used the Internet, up from 70 percent in 2011 (table 702.30). Internet usage differed by various demographic characteristics in 2015. For example, the percentage of internet users was higher among persons age 3 and over who were White (78 percent) than among those who were Black (68 percent), Hispanic (66 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (70 percent). The percentage of internet users in the population age 3 and over was generally higher for those with higher family incomes than for those with lower family incomes. In 2015, for example, 86 percent of people with family incomes of $100,000 to $149,000 used the Internet, compared with 63 percent of people with family incomes of $20,000 to $29,999. Among persons age 25 and over, the percentage of internet users tended to be higher for those with higher levels of educational attainment (table 702.30 and figure 31). For example, the percentage of persons age 25 and over who used the Internet in 2015 was higher for those with a bachelor's or higher degree (88 percent) than for those whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school diploma or equivalent (65 percent).