Survey finds that public library program attendance has steadily increased over the past 3 years

PLDS FY2014_program attendance

Image credit: Public Library Association

The Public Library Association (PLA) recently published the results of their Public Library Data Service Annual Survey. The survey data are from fiscal year 2014 and include finances, resources, service usage, and technology use in public libraries.

One finding documented in the report is the recent tendency of libraries to hire more non-MLS staff than MLS librarians. The percentage of staff with “librarian” in their job title has steadily increased over the past ten years to make up just under a third (31%) of all library staff. The average percentage of MLS-degreed librarians employed by reporting libraries increased by 2.4% since FY 2009, while non-MLS librarians increased by 3.5%. Non-MLS librarians currently represent about 4 in 10 (39%) of all librarian staff, the highest percentage since FY2009.

Libraries also reported steady increases in both the number of library programs offered and program attendance. Although growth has been reported for the past three years, FY2014 marked the fastest rate – programs offered by public libraries increased by 7.3%, while program attendance increased by 6.3%. As PLA notes, more library programming combined with declining circulation numbers suggests that libraries are shifting their service delivery priorities.

The full report provides a wealth of information about public libraries in the United States and can be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

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