Humanities Indicators
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Funding & Research  >  State Funding for the Humanities
 
State Library Agencies
(Updated November 2016)

The official purpose of a state library agency is to extend and develop library services throughout that state, though the nature and extent of those services vary widely—with some agencies even serving as the official archives for their state.[1]

Findings and Trends

  • After rising from the mid-1990s through 2001 (to a high of $1.51 billion), revenues for state library agencies’ fell unevenly over the next 11 years, dropping to $1.02 billion in 2012 before rebounding modestly to $1.07 billion in 2014 (Indicator IV-4a).
  • State funding—which represents the bulk of library agency revenue—fell substantially as a share of all revenues in the 21st century—from 86% of agency revenues in 2001 to 77% in 2012, before rising to 82% in 2014.
  • On a per capita basis, revenues for state library agencies peaked in 2001 (at $5.36) followed by a fairly steady decline—reaching a low of $3.27 in 2012 (Indicator IV-4b). Per capita revenues then rose slightly (to $3.39) in 2014. Since most state library agency funding came from state coffers, the variation in funding levels was largely attributable to changing state budget priorities, as per capita funding from the state fell from $4.58 in 2001 to $2.53 in 2012. The 2014 increase in total per capita funding was entirely due to a boost in state funding (to $2.77), as federal funding fell to its lowest recorded level that year ($0.49).
  • In each year over the course of the 1994–2014 period, the majority of agency revenues, 64–70%, was spent on financial assistance to local libraries (not pictured).[2] As total agency budgets first rose and then declined, so did the level of funding made available to libraries (Indicator IV-4c). In 2014, $688.64 million in state library agency revenues went to assist libraries and library cooperatives, down from the 2001 high of $1.06 billion, but $26 million more than the low recorded in 2012. Agencies’ per capita assistance to local libraries rose 36% from 1994 to 2001 but by 2014 had fallen 21% below the 1994 level.
IV-4a: State Library Agency Revenues, by Source, Fiscal Years 1994–2014 (50 States and the District of Columbia; Adjusted for Inflation)

* Includes any other revenue from public sources; revenue received from private sources, such as foundations, corporations, friends groups, and individuals; and agency-generated revenues, such as fines and fees for services.

Source: For fiscal years (FY) 1994–2005: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, State Library Agencies (Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 1996–2006). For FY 2007–2008: Institute of Museum and Library Services, State Library Agencies (Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2007–2008). Publications for all years are downloadable from http://www.imls.gov/research/state_library_agency_survey.aspx. Amounts for FY 2009–2014 were calculated from public-use data posted at https://www.imls.gov/research-evaluation/data-collection/state-library-administrative-agency-survey/state-library-public, downloaded 6/24/2016.

Revenue figures were adjusted for inflation using the Gross Domestic Product Implicit Price Deflators produced by the U.S. Bureau of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (downloaded from http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDPDEF/downloaddata).

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IV-4b: State Library Agency Per Capita Revenues, by Source, Fiscal Years 1994–2014 (50 States and the District of Columbia; Adjusted for Inflation)

Source: For fiscal years (FY) 1994–2005: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, State Library Agencies (Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 1996–2006). For FY 2007–2008: Institute of Museum and Library Services, State Library Agencies (Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2007–2008). Publications for all years are downloadable from http://www.imls.gov/research/state_library_agency_survey.aspx. Amounts for FY 2009–2014 were calculated from public-use data posted at https://www.imls.gov/research-evaluation/data-collection/state-library-administrative-agency-survey/state-library-public, downloaded 6/24/2016.

Revenue figures were adjusted for inflation using the Gross Domestic Product Implicit Price Deflators produced by the U.S. Bureau of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (downloaded from http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDPDEF/downloaddata).

Population data are from U.S. Census Bureau, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (NC-EST2009-03),” https://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/asrh/2009/tables/NC-EST2009-03.xls; and U.S. Census Bureau, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (NST-EST2015-01),” http://www.census.gov/popest/data/state/totals/2015/tables/NST-EST2015-01.xlsx.

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IV-4c: State Library Agencies’ Total and Per Capita Expenditures for Assistance to Libraries in Their States, Fiscal Years 1994–2014 (50 States and the District of Columbia; Adjusted for Inflation)

Source: For fiscal years (FY) 1994–2005: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, State Library Agencies (Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 1996–2006). For FY 2007–2008: Institute of Museum and Library Services, State Library Agencies (Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2007–2008). Publications for all years are downloadable from http://www.imls.gov/research/state_library_agency_survey.aspx. Amounts for FY 2009–2014 were calculated from public-use data posted at https://www.imls.gov/research-evaluation/data-collection/state-library-administrative-agency-survey/state-library-public, downloaded 6/24/2016.

Revenue figures were adjusted for inflation using the Gross Domestic Product Implicit Price Deflators produced by the U.S. Bureau of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (downloaded from http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/GDPDEF.txt).

Population data are from U.S. Census Bureau, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (NC-EST2009-03),” https://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/asrh/2009/tables/NC-EST2009-03.xls; and U.S. Census Bureau, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (NST-EST2015-01),” http://www.census.gov/popest/data/state/totals/2015/tables/NST-EST2015-01.xlsx.

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Endnotes

[1] These agencies are also authorized to receive and distribute funding under the Library Services and Technology Act, the major vehicle by which the federal government provides monies to states to support library services within their borders.
[2] Although funding was made available to both public and private libraries, the vast majority of these monies went to public institutions.