In a press release issued today, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) confirmed what most public library staff already knew—library visits are up, way up. In the last decade public libraries were visited 1.59 billion times, a 24.4% increase in visits per capita and total visits increase of almost 40%.
From IMLS: “The Institute’s analysis of the data showed that per capita visits and circulation rose in the century’s first decade. The number of public libraries increased during that period but not enough to keep pace with the rise in population. Library staffing remained stable, though the percentage of public libraries with degreed and accredited librarians increased.
The report also found that the nature and composition of collections in U.S. public libraries is changing, indicating that library collections are becoming more varied. Although the volume of print materials decreased over the 10 years studied, collections overall continued to grow because of increases in the number of audio, video, and electronic book materials.
The role of public libraries in providing Internet resources to the public also continued to increase. According to the report, the availability of Internet-ready computer terminals in public libraries doubled over the course of the decade.”
Press release: http://www.imls.gov/library_visits_at_historic_high.aspx