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The quiet crisis facing U.S. public libraries

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The quiet crisis facing U.S. public libraries

Jun 28 2024

According to most recent data from the Institute of Museum and Library services annual Public Library Survey, released earlier this month, gate counts at U.S. public libraries (that is, in-person visits) rose in 2022 over 2021. Overall, however, physical library visits—which have been in a troubling decline for more than a decade—remain dramatically lower than before the pandemic. IMLS counted about 671 million physical visits in 2022 vs. roughly 1.25 billion in 2019, the year before the pandemic shutdowns. And over the last decade, the average number of library visits per user per year has fallen by nearly half (49.1%).

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