Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

Finding Public Library Statistics
About Sources of Public Library Statistics
 Oregon Statistical Report  Oregon Statistical Report
The data collected by the Oregon Statistical Report encompasses all of the PLS (formerly FSCS) data elements, and includes some data collected at the state level.  It includes all legally established public library entities in Oregon.
Public Library Survey
Statistics are collected from 9,000+ public libraries, via the Public Library Survey (PLS), formerly the Federal State Cooperative System (FSCS). The states partner with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to coordinate and aggregate state statistical data on the national level. The aim is to survey the entire universe of public libraries. Data is checked for quality by State Library staff, and the U.S. Bureau of the Census.  There are entities, such as Yachats Public Library, and the Library Information Network of Clackamas County, that do not meet the federal definition of a public library and are excluded from PLSC.  The Census also estimates data for libraries that don't report it, so there will be some differences between the Oregon Statistical Report and PLSC figures.
Hennen's American Public Library Ratings
Using data from the PLSC (formerly FSCS), Mr. Hennen's ratings of public libraries are published in the October issues of American Libraries.  Note that the ratings are dated with the year of the report, not the year of the data.  For instance, the 2004 ratings are based on 2001-2002 FSCS data. 
  LJ Index 
LJ Index was created as an alternative to the Hennen Index.  This index examines only service outputs, such as visits and circulation, and excludes resource inputs.  Data comes from the Public Library Statistical Cooperative.  The LJ Index uses four per capita ratios that correlate with each other.
Article introducing LJ Index -
Lance, Keith Curry, and Ray Lyons. "The New LJ Index," Library Journal.com, June 15, 2008.
PLDS - Public Library Data Service Statistical Report
The PLDS is collected by the Public Library Association and contains data from nearly 2,000 public libraries. Each year the survey includes a special survey highlighting one service area or topic. The survey includes a random sample of 489 libraries serving populations 5,001-50,000. For 2012 and onwards, the data is accessible in an online database. Contact Susan Westin at 503-378-5435 or susan.b.westin@state.or.us for login information. The data sample is skewed towards larger libraries. Note that the year of the report is not the year the data were collected. The data sample is skewed towards larger libraries. Note that the year of the report is not the year the data were collected.

Dr. John Bertot

College of Information Studies,

University of Maryland


Public Libraries & the Internet
Since 1994, Drs. Bertot and McClure of Florida State University have conducted studies roughly every two years that track the level of involvement, key issues, trends, and other aspects of public library internet use. The survey covers issues such as internet connectivity bandwidth, internet-based service and resource availability, filtering of internet-based content and services, and costs and issues associated with internet connectivity. This survey is done on a sampling basis.

Public Library Data Tools

Public Library Survey Data Catalog

Use the online search and discovery tools in the IMLS data catalog to dig into the PLS data from FY 2014 and earlier fiscal years. Explore the PLS visualizations and datasets to find information on state-level profiles, public library systems, and main libraries, branches, and bookmobiles.


Census Bureau's Hot Reports

Browse data for state-level information on public libraries, demographics, children and education, and business and income.



National Public Library Data Reports
Public Library Survey annual reports - Includes reports back to 1989
Public Library Data Archive and Longitudinal Sets
1987- current 
Reports from the FSU survey, in conjunction with ALA:
Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2006-2007 Report 
The Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study assesses public access to computers, the Internet, and Internet-related services in U.S. public libraries, and the impact of library funding changes on connectivity, technology deployment, and sustainability.

Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2007-2008 
U.S. Public Library Internet Connectivity 2009 
Connectivity findings from the 2008-2009 study report, which will be published in full in September 2009. 

Useful Links, Publications and Supporting Tools
Useful Links
Colorado's Library Research Service
This is a tremendous source of links to statistics for all kinds of libraries, and more!
American Library Association - Office of Research and Statistics
Links to up-to-date salary and staff data, links to many return-on-investment articles and studies, ALA standards and more.
E-Metrics Instructional System
The Information Use Management & Policy Institute at Florida State University developed measures for virtual services that libraries may wish to explore.


Libraries: How They Stack Up
Released in 2003 by OCLC, provides a snapshot of the economic impact of libraries worldwide. The report contains some interesting comparisons of library economics and activities to other sectors, professions and destinations in the global economy.

Taxpayer Return on Investment in Florida Public Libraries: Summary Report
A study prepared for the State Library and Archives of Florida through the collebrative efforts of Jose-Marie Griffiths (Univ. of Pittsburgh and Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill); Donald W. King and Christinger Tomer (University of Pittsburgh); and Thomas Lynch and Julie Harrington (Florida State University), September 2004.  A fine example of this type of study.  Citations to similar works can be found via the ALA Office of Research and Statistics or Colorado's Library Research Service.

Links to other Return on Investment studies can be found on the American Library Association website.
FY09 State Funding for Public Libraries 
Information was gathered by ALA's Office for Research and Statistics from Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) in December 2008.

with permission from http://www.unshelved.com/ strip from November 8, 2008

Supporting Sites and Tools
These are tools that indirectly support or augument use of public library statistics
Oregon Progress Board - Build a Custom Report
Oregon Benchmarks measure progress towards Oregon´s strategic vision, Oregon Shines.  Benchmarks are organized into seven categories: economy, education, civic engagement, social support, public safety, community development and environment.  The custom report generator provides access to data from particular measures, including 8th grade math and reading levels, and % of Oregonians adequately served by a public library.
Oregon Department of Revenue Statistical Reports
Reports on property and income taxes, by county and district type.
Population Research Center - Portland State University
Home of Oregon's population and the Oregon State Data Center (SDC) and Business and Industry Data Center (BIDC).
Northwest Area Foundation Indicator Website
Data for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho states and counties based on data from a variety of federal and state agencies.  Information includes poverty rates, average wage, and change in population.  Also contains statistics on native american tribes.
CensusScope is an easy-to-use tool for investigating U.S. demographic trends, brought to you by the Social Science Data Analysis Network at the University of Michigan. With eye-catching graphics and exportable trend data, CensusScope is designed for both generalists and specialists.
The Census offers access to the yearly American Community Survey data, as well as quick fact sheets, tools to ferret out vital statistics and more. 
One can use the map tool to create thematic maps of a service area
Data and Tools from Colorado's Library Research Service
This page features a link to a budget calculators developed by the Library Research Service that estimates the cost in future dollars of maintaining current expenses. There are also links to calculators for inflation, current value for past dollars, and more.
FedStats - gateway to statistics from over 100 federal agencies 

Melissa DATA: Lookups
Tools for finding crime, income tax and labor statistics by zip code.