ALA: The State of America's Libraries, 2010

The American Library Association has released The State of America's Libraries, 2010.

Here's an excerpt:

Academic libraries are experiencing increased use, both physical and virtual. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that during a typical week in fiscal 2008, U.S. academic libraries had more than 20.3 million visits (1.5 million more than in fiscal 2006), answered more than 1.1 million reference questions, and made more than 498,000 presentations to groups. Seventy-two percent of academic libraries reported providing library reference service by e-mail or the Web.

Almost 95 percent of students use their academic library's website at least once a week, according to a study on students and technology by the Educause Center for Applied Research, and the proportion of students who reported using the library's website daily increased from 7.1 percent in 2006 to 16.9 percent in 2009. Project Information Literacy found that nine out of 10 college students surveyed turned to libraries "for online scholarly research databases . . . for conducting course-related research, valuing the resources for credible content, in-depth information, and the ability to meet instructors' expectations."

Not surprisingly, more and more academic-library resources now start with an 'e-'. Although in 2008 academic libraries added 24 million books, serial back files, and other paper materials including government documents, 3.4 million current serial subscriptions, and 3.4 million audiovisual materials units, the shift to e-resources continues to accelerate. Academic libraries added 20 million e-books in 2008, bringing the total to about 102.5 million—a breathtaking two-year increase of 59.4 percent from the 64.3 million held in fiscal 2006, according to the NCES. Electronic reference sources and aggregation services also rose sharply . . . as did expenses: Academic libraries' expenditures for electronic serial subscriptions increased to $1 billion in fiscal 2008 from $691.6 million in 2006, according to the ALA Office of Research and Statistics.