Libraries and Library Use


The growth of public libraries has been a vitally important aspect of the development of the information economy.  At least in the U.S., public libraries have achieved near universal service and mediate between wide-area communication and local interests.  Public libraries have long been concerned with social networking, content management systems, and user behavior in borrowing/sharing from a collection of works.  With the rise of digital works and the Internet, these issues are now of broad interest in the communications industry.   


This page links to work Iíve done on libraries.  Here are all purple motes posts on libraries.  Comments and suggestions welcomed.  I am grateful to the persons who have helped me with data and analysis.  I would be happy to learn about other work on libraries that might offer insights for current communications industry analysis.



I. Circulating non-book items from libraries


Non-book Items in U.S. Public Libraries


Library users like audiovisuals


Audiovisual Materials in U.S Public Libraries


Libraries have long lent more than books


Item Formats in U.S. Public Libraries, 1955


Print down slightly, video up sharply


            Public libraries outperformed video rental businesses


II. Institutional forms of libraries 


Organizational diversity in information infrastructure


III. Long-run evidence on user behavior


Book Circulation Per U.S. Public Library User Since 1856  (pdf version)


            Television's effect on public library use


IV. Other data on libraries


Registered Library Borrowers as Share of Population Served about 2004


Library Registration and Circulation in U.S. Cities, 1890-1970


Libraries Reporting Circulation and Users to the ALA for 1915


Libraries Reporting Adult and Juvenile Circulation and Users to the ALA for 1914


North American Public Library Statistics about 1868


Public Library Statistics for the United States about 1856


Analysis of Thomas Jeffersonís Library (1815), sold to the U.S. Congress




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