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Academic Libraries Survey (ALS)


Effective planning for the development and use of library resources demands the availability of valid and reliable statistics on academic libraries. ALS provides a wealth of information on academic libraries. These data are used by federal program staff to address various policy issues, by state policymakers for planning and comparative analysis, and by institutional staff for planning and peer analysis. Specific uses are listed below:

  • Congress uses ALS data to assess the impact of library grants programs, the need for revisions to existing legislation, and the allocation of funds.
  • Federal agencies that administer library grants for collections development, resource sharing, and networking activities require ALS data for their evaluation of the condition of academic libraries.
  • State education agencies use ALS data to make comparisons at the national, regional, and state levels.
  • Accreditation review programs for academic institutions require current library statistical data in order to evaluate postsecondary education institutions, establish standards, and modify comparative norms for assessing the quality of programs.
  • Library administrators, academic managers, and national postsecondary education policy planners need current data on new electronic technologies to assess the impact of rapid technological change on the collections, budgets, and staffs of academic libraries. College librarians and administrators need these data to develop plans for the most effective use of local, state, and federal funds. Staff data are input to supply/demand models for professional and paraprofessional librarians. 
  • Library associations—such as the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries—use ALS data to determine the general status of the profession. Other research organizations use the data for studies of libraries.
  • Program staff in the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education use ALS data for administering their library grants program, evaluating existing programs, and preparing documentation for congressional budget hearings and inquiries.