NCES Report: e-Books on the Rise in Academic Libraries

A new report by the National Center for Education Statistics shows how electronic material is becoming more popular in U.S. academic libraries.

A new report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has analyzed services, staff, collections and expenditures of academic libraries in 2 and 4 year postsecondary institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The report has found that, across the board, e-books and electronic resources are on the rise in our academic libraries.

Some of the highlights of the report includes:

  • Approximately 158.7 million e-books and 1.8 million electronic reference sources were held in academic libraries in 2010
  • $152.4 million was spent by academic libraries on electronic books,  serial backfiles, and other materials
  • Expenditures for electronic current serial subscriptions totaled about $1.2 billion in 2010
  • Almost three quarters of academic libraries would advocate virtual reference services
  • During the fall of 2010, academic libraries were recorded as having 88,943 full time members of staff

This comes after an interview with Molly Raphael, President of the American Library Association on  how libraries across the United States need to adapt as they are threatened with closure or having significant cuts made to their budgets.

“Rapidly changing technology, adequacy of financial resources, and changing demographics are three major issues facing libraries,” said Molly Raphael.

“Communities are experiencing major shifts in demographics, which require new approaches to meeting community demand.  Libraries have to adapt services and often have spaces which limit their abilities to offer effective services.”

Keeping libraries central in people’s lives is a priority for Raphael, and this must mean adapting to technologies and trends.

“If a community is a middle class community where lots of people have e-readers of some kind, there is likely to be far more demand for e-books than there is in a lower income community where people may come into the library to use the computers because they are dependent on the library to provide access to e-resources and the Internet.

“Libraries need to engage with the local community and what are that community’s needs and aspirations, and look at what else might fit with the community as well.”

The report on academic libraries is a product of the National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences.

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