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Largest Public Library Systems In The United States

This page lists the top 25 public libraries in the United States by four specific statistical measures; namely, by size of population served, by the size of the library collection, by the number of times items in the collection were checked out, and number of visits to the library.

Largest Public Library Systems In The United States

These public library statistics come from the Public Libraries in the United States Survey of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. The Public Libraries Survey (PLS) provides statistics on the status of public libraries in the United States. The data are collected from approximately 9,000 public libraries with approximately 17,000 individual public library outlets in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and outlying territories.

For Population of the Legal Service Area, the PLS Fiscal Year 2019 Data Element Definitions state: The number of people in the geographic area for which a public library has been established to offer services and from which (or on behalf of which) the library derives revenue, plus any areas served under contract for which the library is the primary service provider.

The American Library Association has published data on the size of 25 largest public libraries in the United States. These data are from the Institute of Museum and Library Services's Public Libraries Survey (PLS) for fiscal year 2016. The largest public libraries in the U.S. are far larger than the median public library in the country; almost four-fifths of U.S. public libraries serve areas with populations of fewer than 25,000.[1]

The following are the 25 ARL members with the largest number of titles held, "including catalogued, locally digitized, and licensed" titles.[9] ARL follows the ANSI/NISO Z39.7-2004 definition of "title": "The designation of a separate bibliographic whole, whether issued in one or several volumes...Titles are defined according to the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules. A book or serial title may be distinguished from other titles by its unique International Standard Book Number (ISBN) or International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)."[10] Multiple copies of the same work (for example, subscriptions to the same publication) are counted as a single title, but a serial title available in multiple formats (for example, print and online) are counted once for each available format.[11]

Other notable D.C. libraries Though the Library of Congress is open to the public, only some government officials and library employees may check out books and materials. However, as the de facto national library of the United States, its importance is clear. The symbolic art and architecture alone are worth a visit.

Other notable Ann Arbor librariesAs the third-largest research library in the U.S., University of Michigan Library is consistently ranked in the top 10 by the Association of Research Libraries. With librarians like Sheila Garcia, who was named a 2019 ALA Emerging Leader, it's no wonder.

Home to the third-largest public library in the United States, the city of Boston enjoys riches beyond most book lovers' dreams. Boston Central Library in Copley Square is headquarters to the 24 branches in the system, and the reading room in the McKim Building would turn anyone studious. The libraries host thousands of free programs every year, including author talks, concerts, daily children's events, and therapy dog storytimes.

The American Library Association is headquartered in Chicago, so you know this city likes to read. The CPL, which boasts 80 locations and some of the best public libraries in the U.S., includes the central library, Harold Washington Library Center. There, the ninth-floor Winter Garden is a beautifully unique feature, and the Maker Lab includes multiple 3D printers, CNC machines, and laser cutters. It's also the largest public library in the U.S. to eliminate fines for overdue items, forgiving all existing fees. Services include a free lecture series, the Words and Music Program, and free homework help.

Other notable Chicago librariesThe Newberry Library is an independent research library with materials spanning over six centuries, and the University of Chicago Library is the tenth-largest academic library in North America. Chicago is also the future grounds of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, which will include a branch of the CPL.

This networkis a vast library system with 41 locations, including impressive suburbanlibraries with art collections, outreach services for at-home patrons, andother innovative programs. Its largest location, the Minneapolis Central Library, features special historicalcollections, technology labs, gallery art, a piano room, and energy efficiencies,including a roof garden and substantial daylight. Partially supported by groupslike Friends of the Hennepin County Library, these branches are essential partsof their communities and the county as a whole.

WhenWal-Mart moved out, the library moved in to become the largest single-floorlibrary in the United States. This remarkable place wins awards for onlinepresence, architecture, and services and believes in "free access toinformation [that] connects a culturally diverse population with the globalcommunity." Though a small system, these libraries receive rave reviews, andevents like the South Texas Book Festival and regular programs bring thecommunity together through the power of books.

Of the libraries on the list, the library at Harvard is the oldest; the university and its library were founded in 1638. But, The Boston Public library is the second ever modern public library in the world. It is the first major library funded by local taxes (preceded only by the little Peterborough town library in neighboring New Hampshire). The project was pushed through to completion after rumors surfaced of a similar project in New York ignited an intercity competition.

The goals of this major policy shift (fines have been in place since the three systems were created at the turn of the 20th century) include encouraging increased usage of the library systems, as well as creating a more equitable system that does not disproportionately impact high-need communities. Under the previous model with late fines, patrons would have their cards blocked if they accrued more than $15 in fines. At the time of the announcement, about 400,000 New Yorkers would fit into this category, more than half in high-need communities.

For many families, even a few additional dollars for an overdue book would prevent them from accessing the opportunities libraries offer. The fine policy in effect priced out the most vulnerable, scaring families from using a free public library system and creating an ethical conundrum which can longer be tolerated.

The library systems collected about $3.2 million in late fines revenue in Fiscal Year 2019, the last non-pandemic year. Since March 2020, the systems have suspended fines to accommodate patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic. As they have not collected late fines in over a year, they have found ways to absorb the lost revenue from fines.

Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 87,500 educational, cultural, and civic programs a year. It consists of 66 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology lab, and two teen centers.

Find your local public library - Public libraries have experts who can help you find the resources you need. Libraries have computer stations and lend books, movies, and music in person and digitally. Many offer English classes and other programs.

The Newberry Library in Chicago has received 183 grants from NEH since 1970, totaling $53,698,333 to support collection building, exhibitions, research, workshops and institutes for teachers, and public programming. This year, with a $200,000 NEH grant, the library offers a series of citywide public programs and digital resources exploring the history of the July 1919 Chicago race riots.

In one of the latest blog team meetings, Betty and I discovered that not only had we both made recent trips to New York, but we also made visiting the New York Public Library (NYPL) a main part of our sightseeing itinerary. The choice of location likely comes as no surprise, as the NYPL is the largest public library system in the United States, and holds an iconic status even for those of us who do not live in New York, not least because it has been featured in a multitude of movies and television shows over the years.

Before coming to the National Archives, Mr. Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries (NYPL). He was part of the leadership team responsible for integrating the four research libraries and 87 branch libraries into one seamless service for users, creating the largest public library system in the United States and one of the largest research libraries in the world. Mr. Ferriero was in charge of collection strategy, conservation, digital experience, reference and research services, and education, programming, and exhibitions.

The Mid-Continent Public Library, Oak Grove Branch, is located at 2320 S Broadway, and consists of 29 other branches serving Clay, Jackson, and Platte Counties throughout Western Missouri. It was established in 1965 and is now one of the largest library systems in the United States. Financed by your tax dollars it provides you with one of the finest library resources in the nation.

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is one of the leading public libraries of the world and is one of the United States's most significant research libraries. It is composed of a very large circulating public library system combined with a very large non-lending research library system. It is simultaneously one of the largest public library systems in the United States and one of the largest research library systems in the world. It is a privately managed, nonprofit corporation with a public mission, operating with both private and public financing.


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