How do I compare my library to other public libraries?

Comparing your library data with data from other libraries can provide helpful context for planning and evaluating, but it can be difficult to know which libraries are comparable and in what ways they are similar and what ways they are different. These resources will help you identify and access data from other libraries.

  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Public Library Survey includes data from approximately 9,000 public libraries across the country, collected annually.
  • Use the IMLS Library Search & Compare Tool to filter PLS data by revenue, staff size, circulation, and a number of other facets that are useful when comparing libraries.
  • Benchmark Briefings, new from the Public Library Association, are a tool to help you figure out how your library compares to other similar libraries on key metrics, such as budget, staff, collection size, and number of visits. .
  • PLS data and related resources are also available on state library agency websites, compiled here by Library Research Service.