Library Meltdown:  Facts and Statistics


At 1.4 billion visits a year
, Americans visit the library more often than 
we go to the movies and six times more often than we attend live sporting events. (Includes professional and NCAA football, baseball, basketball and hockey.) (More)

Students are more likely to be successful academically and on standardized tests if they have the benefit of a library media program led by a state-certified school media specialist.  (More)

77 million people used library computers and Internet access in past year  (More)

For every tax dollar invested in public libraries, there was an average return of more than $4 in benefits to patrons, the community and the economy. (More)

Most public libraries provide free wireless Internet access for their  users. Nearly 12,000 now offer free Wi-Fi. That’s more than Starbucks, Barnes & Noble or Borders.(More)

Library cards are about as prevalent as credit cards. Two-thirds of Americans have a library card. For many young people, the first card in their wallet is a library card. (More)

U.S. public libraries circulate as many materials
every day as FedEx ships packages worldwide.
We enjoy $82 million of value every day from the
materials we check out at libraries. (More)

There are more than 16,000 public libraries in the United States.  Most provide access to job/career information and resources compared to roughly 1,800 "One-Stop" Career Centers under the Workforce Investment Act.  Most of these career centers refer people to the public library for more assistance. (More)


In 2009, 77% of states cut funds that support local libraries. (Source)

There are 99,180 school libraries in America.  (Source)  In 2000, only 75% of school libraries were staffed with certified media specialists. Now, many of these are losing their positions at alarming rates due to school budget cuts. The statistics are still coming in. (Source)

Americans spend 10 times as much money on home video games (9.9 billion annually) as they do on school library materials for their children.

School library media centers spend an average of $10 per child for books - less than half the cost of one hardcover school library book.  (Source)

College libraries receive less than 2 cents per dollar spent on higher education.

To make up for budget shortfalls, libraries are forced to cut back on hours or close neighborhood branches. Example:  in Clearwater Florida, libraries will now be closed on Friday and Saturdays, the busiest days at the library.  (Source)

Read more about it...