National Statistics

Biennial statistics on U.S. academic libraries are available from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Data are collected by NCES with the support of the American Library Association, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Division of Governments, and a network of state-level Library Representatives. The biennial NCES report on U.S. academic libraries provides data for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as the nation as a whole. It also summarizes these data for public and private institutions, by enrollment, degree-granting level, and Carnegie classification. Major data categories include: outlets, staffing, expenditures, collections, electronic services, library visits (gate count), circulation, reference questions, and resource sharing/interlibrary loan.

First Look: Academic Libraries

Ed Tabs: Academic Libraries in the United States

NCES also makes available computer files of annual data for about 9,000 administrative entities (i.e., jurisdictions) and about 16,000 outlets. Data files are available for 1992 to the present. Earlier files are available in both ASCII and .dbf formats, while more recent ones are available in both ASCII and MS Access (.mdb) formats. MS Access, SPSS, SAS, or similar statistical analysis software is recommended to users of these files. MS Excel and other spreadsheet applications are not recommended due to the structure and size of the files.

Academic Comparison Tools

Compare Academic Institutions

This tool from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Peer Analysis System is designed to enable a user to easily compare any postsecondary institution to a group of peer institutions selected by the user.

Compare Academic Libraries

Allows the user to get information on a particular library, or to customize a peer group by selecting the key variables that are used to define it.


  • Public Library Statistics & Profiles
    Dive into annual statistics from the Colorado Public Library Annual Report using our interactive tool, results tailored to trustees, and state totals and averages.
  • School Library Impact Studies
    School libraries have a profound impact on student achievement. Explore studies about this topic by LRS and other researchers in our comprehensive guide.
  • Fast Fact Reports
    Looking for a quick rundown of library research? Check out our Fast Facts, which highlight research and statistics about various library topics.


See more @


LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs. We partner with the Library and Information Science program at University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education to provide research fellowships to current MLIS students.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Staff & Contact Info