Magazine article American Libraries

NCLIS Study Shows $3.5-Billion Increase in Library Spending

Magazine article American Libraries

NCLIS Study Shows $3.5-Billion Increase in Library Spending

Article excerpt

Between 1992 and 2002, funding for public libraries increased by $3.5 billion, and most other indicators also increased appreciably, according to a recent analysis of Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS) data by Robert E. Molyneux, director of statistics and surveys for the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS).

There were also 5,900 more ALA-accredited MLS holders working in American public libraries in 2002 than in 1992, the number of volumes held increased by 138.5 million, and circulation was up. Molyneux observed that "U.S. public libraries were an $8.6-billion business in FY2002."

It has not previously been possible to analyze trends systematically because the FSCS data, published annually by the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, was not appropriately organized, Molyneux told American Libraries. "As a result, we could not systematically trace the behavior of libraries through time as they respond to and are affected by their environments." With that goal in mind, he reorganized the data to track trends.

Among the highlights of Molyneux's findings: The mean number of video materials held by public libraries grew significantly, and the per-capita quantity of such materials is inversely related to the size of the user community. Holdings of other types of materials rose absolutely and per person, but none as sharply as videos.

Expenditure and income per capita figures showed the same pattern of an inverse relationship with size. …

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