Library Data

Collecting and analyzing data about libraries and their future .
Librarians on the rise
What is not subtle in this is the change in proportion of librarians and professionals to both student assistants and support staff. The previous chart makes it clear that there is a subtle decline in total FTE,  this chart shows the decline is almost exclusively suffered by support staff and student assistant positions. Librarians continue to increase in numbers until they surpass support staff in 2008.  It is not until 2010 that librarians start to see a decline in numbers as well.
Data source: Library Statistics Program (National Center for Education Statistics)

Librarians on the rise

What is not subtle in this is the change in proportion of librarians and professionals to both student assistants and support staff. The previous chart makes it clear that there is a subtle decline in total FTE,  this chart shows the decline is almost exclusively suffered by support staff and student assistant positions. Librarians continue to increase in numbers until they surpass support staff in 2008.  It is not until 2010 that librarians start to see a decline in numbers as well.

Data source: Library Statistics Program (National Center for Education Statistics)

Steady employment
This chart shows the break down of the types of staff that academic libraries employ.  What this chart makes obvious is that total FTEs employed by academic libraries has remained very constant, with only a very subtle (but steady) decline. The highest point is 96709 fte in 1998 and the lowest point so far is 88943 in 2010.  The next chart demonstrates something more interesting about this same data.
Data source: Library Statistics Program (National Center for Education Statistics)

Steady employment

This chart shows the break down of the types of staff that academic libraries employ.  What this chart makes obvious is that total FTEs employed by academic libraries has remained very constant, with only a very subtle (but steady) decline. The highest point is 96709 fte in 1998 and the lowest point so far is 88943 in 2010.  The next chart demonstrates something more interesting about this same data.

Data source: Library Statistics Program (National Center for Education Statistics)

No more academic library circulation by 2020?
Anyone following library circulation stats would probably not immediately come to this conclusion. But that’s because most librarians look only at the total circulation of a library. The problem with this is that it’s heavily dependent on the fluctuating student population.  This data is looking at student behavior and asking the question “How many items is the average college student checking out?”.  If the rate of decline continues as it has been since 1994, independent of student population growth, you can expect to stop seeing a circulation desk when you walk in your university library 2020.  However it’s quite possible that we’ll eventually see this number flatten out, only time will tell.  
Data source: Library Statistics Program (National Center for Education Statistics)

No more academic library circulation by 2020?

Anyone following library circulation stats would probably not immediately come to this conclusion. But that’s because most librarians look only at the total circulation of a library. The problem with this is that it’s heavily dependent on the fluctuating student population.  This data is looking at student behavior and asking the question “How many items is the average college student checking out?”.  If the rate of decline continues as it has been since 1994, independent of student population growth, you can expect to stop seeing a circulation desk when you walk in your university library 2020.  However it’s quite possible that we’ll eventually see this number flatten out, only time will tell.  

Data source: Library Statistics Program (National Center for Education Statistics)