Sources of data on libraries outside the United States


This page is a work in progress. Suggestions and corrections are welcome. It is my intent to collect links to all such sources I can find on the Internet and I have begun with these. The links are to pages with publications of data. These publications are dynamic and all observations about them are as of this writing.

Canadian Public Library Data Comments
  Canadian public library data are available from agencies of the various Provinces and one association, the Canadian Urban Libraries Council/Conseil des Bibliothèques Urbaines du Canada (CULC/CBUC). These data vary considerably in scope and coverage. There is no national system of public library data outside the largest urban libraries from CULC/CBUC and there will be questions of comparability of these data between these various sources. That is, they collect different sets of things for different years and publish them in different formats. Those of British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario have the most useful data series.
Alberta Alberta's Public Library Services Branch is in the Province's Ministry of Municipal Affairs. This Branch has published annual data on its public libraries available here: Data are for 2005-2011. 2005 through 2009 are in PDF and subsequently in XLS. There are also reports on aspects of these libraries.
British Columbia The Province's Libraries Branch is in the Ministry of Education. The main data page is at Note the fact that they publish the survey questionnaire. Very good. However, this page presents something truly excellent: an eleven-year compilation of their public libary data from 2002-2012.
A longitudinal file of the data and in CSV and XLS format! From previous iterations of their data, I know that they have data back to 1999 but in PDF and the survey questions were published back to 2006 so there are more data from BC if they chose to make them available.
This is also neat: an annotated Goggle map of libraries in the province:
Manitoba The Manitoba Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection includes the Public Library Services Branch which is responsible for its data. This is another excellent series. Data are available on these libraries from 2008-2013 “Ready Reports” here: The display format is in HTML but one can download XLS files and see graphs. This is an ingenious display method and I would say the best I have seen anywhere. The data are by categories so, for example, circulation statistics are separate from expenditures. If you want to look at them together, you will have work to do. There are also monthly reports available on the most recent month's eBooks, circulation activity, newly registered users, and the number of checkouts via links at the bottom of the page. Monthly statistics are scarce in the library world but they can be quite useful if one can find them for extended periods.
Also a nice Google Map of libraries in the province:
Nova Scotia The Nova Scotia Provincial Library, offers services, among them “Managing the Public Library Data Collection that provides province-wide statistics for Nova Scotia's libraries.” However, I cannot find any on its Website. There is a colorful Google map: of those libraries.
Ontario Ontario's Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport conducts the Annual Survey of Public Libraries The data are available at for 1999 through 2011. The data are in PDF format and in categories by topic (General Information, Key Ratios, Financial, Holdings, etc.) and by size. There are 72 per year. It is a large collection and assembling it into a dataset for analysis has presented a daunting problem until the data were released in CSV format for 1999-2010 by the Province's open data initiative: The 1999 data have a good bit of data not included in the others but from 2000-2010, the data seem to be in good order.
Saskatechewan The Provincial Library and Literacy Office within the Ministry of Education. Saskatchewan Libraries is the main source of information and here ( we will find the Public Library Statistical Summary for the province. The data are from 1997 through 2009 and in PDF of the summary publications. The 1997 data are the oldest public library data from Canada which are available on the Web, I believe. Unfortunately, they would be difficult to use for analysis in this format.
Canadian Urban Libraries Council/ Conseil des Bibliothèques Urbaines du Canada (CULC/CBUC) CULC/CBUC membership is open to urban libraries or urban library districts which have populations over 100,000. There are 45 members currently listed. 37 from across Canada reported data to CULC/CBUC for 2012 as listed on its Key Performance Indicators page The data presented there are for 2000-2012 although the page says that CULC and its predecessor collected data “for more than 20 years.” The data are in PDF as a publication. The latest is 2012 Canadian Public Library Statistics. There detailed reports on the 451 branch libraries and reports of ranks of these libraries by 21 categories.
Canadian Academic Library Data Comments
Canadian Association of Research Libraries - Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada (CARL/ABRC) CARL/ABRC currently has 29 university members and two federal government research libraries. Statsitistics are available in PDF format for the listed years of 1976-1977 through 2010-2011 academic years but not all data are linked nor available. / although the publications appear to be bilingual. Members have access to Excel spreadsheets.
Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL) COPPUL has 23 university library members located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. It has published data on its members from CARL/ABRC ( in PDF. There are four years from 2007-2008 through 2010-2011 academic years. The latest reports data for 21 of those members. These data appear to be more detailed than the CARL/ABRC data.
Australian Libraries Comments
Australian Public Libraries' Data The National and State Libraries publishes the Australian Public Libraries Statistical Report in PDF. The publications exist from 1996-97 through 2011-12. Also noteworthy a comparative report for 1998-2004. There is a study of “redevelopment” of the survey instrument.
Australian Academic Libraries' Data The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) is the source for these data ( The data exist in XLS format with various reports in PDF and have since 2009 included data from the Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL.) The data are available from 1983 through 2012. There is a discussion of earlier data going back to 1953 but these do not appear to have been converted to digital format. This is a nice series.
New Zealand Libraries Comments
New Zealand Public Libraries' Data Public Libraries of New Zealand has data on the approximately 300 public libraries there ( The data are available in XLS format for the years 2004/05 to 2012/13. The measures collected have been revised and the revised data will be available in 2015. A Google map ( has links to information on the various libraries.
New Zealand Academic Libraries' Data The Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL) is a Committee of Universities New Zealand – Te Po-kai Tara. CONZUL published its member's statistics from 1999 until the 2009 ( .) In 2010, CONZUL data were included with those of the data from Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL). The data are in XLS format. Included are glossaries of terms and an introduction in PDF.
Irish Libraries Comments
Irish Public Libraries' Data Ask About Ireland publishes data on these libraries in PDF. The reports distinguish between Annual Actual Expenditure (“Actuals”) and Annual Estimates of Expenditures (“Estimates”) and, hence, there are two sets of reports. Actuals exist on that page for 2002-2012 and Estimates for 2008-2012. At the bottom is an intriguing note that there are earlier reports. Apparently the data go back further.

See where it is mentions that the “The databases extend back to 1978 for actual expenditure and to 1987 for estimated expenditure.” It may be that this data set records annual public library data further back than any other series I am aware of.

Irish Academic Libraries' Data Ireland's major research libraries are members of the Consortium of National and University Libraries (CONUL). Its 13 members are listed here: The data from these libraries are apparently included with those of SCONUL (The Society of College, National, and University Libraries in the UK and Ireland.) On its membership page it mentions that it has 175 members and that it includes in its range of services “collecting and publishing statistics from our member libraries, enabling benchmarking and other comparative analysis.” I cannot find these data. I did find one address: that is said to have these data but the server has been “temporarily unable” every time I have tried so far.
German Libraries German library data is collected through the Deutsche Bibliotheksstatistik (DBS) [German Library Statistics] an elaborate data collection and reporting effort. The effort includes libraries of several types: academic, public, and scientific. My German is not up to this but I looks to me like this is the main page: Main data page here: These data are for the years 2004-2011 and by type of library. Summary data here in German and English tables for the years 1999-2011:
German Library Assessment Interwoven with this data collection is BIX (Der Bibliotheksindex) [The Library Index.] Bix covers public and academic libraries thoughout the country and benchmarks libraries by peer group (size). The system covers 2,000 public libraries and 240 academics. Basic information in English is here: Project information.
“BIX consists of 17 indicators for academic and 18 indicators for public libraries. They are divided into four dimensions: services, usage, efficiency and development. BIX-results show the situation of each library in each of the four dimensions: it is situated either in the top, middle or lower third of all libraries in Germany. The results are represented by a colour code and aggregated to a ‘star’-system, four stars being the maximum result.”

The target dimensions (variables) include inputs, outputs, and outcomes. This is a pretty impressive system that was begun in 1999 so most of the bugs will have been ironed out or, at least, understood. I am not so sure we in the English-speaking world should not jump aboard. However, we would have to improve our German!

Assessment, report cards, new measures

This is a tentative collection of sites discussing methods for assessing libraries and often ranking them. I include three US initiatives. The German benchmarking index, Bix, is discussed above.

HAPLR Hennen's American Public Library Ratings ( Tom Hennen has many years as a public library employee and director. The Index is based on data from the IMLS national public library survey. The last update was in April of 2010. It includes (included?) input and output measures.
The Website has a great deal of information on rankings, how HAPLR is constructed, and also on the LJIndex. The discussion of the LJIndex on the HAPLR site and the HAPLR Index in the discussions of the LJ Index's consruction are interesting, thoughtful, and informative. See the HAPLR discussions of the LJ Index here:
LJ Index The 2013 LJ Index of Public Library Service was published in November, 2013. The discussion of how it is constructed is in a June, 2008 article in Library Journal. It is to be based on on four output measures from the IMLS public library dataset. It uses star rankings. This index was developed by Keith Curry Lance and Ray Lyons. The earlier article contains a discussion of the thinking behind the construction of this index. Ray's blog Lib(rary) Performance has an article that touches on a methodological issue between this Index and HAPLR: “Ain't Misbehavin'! Uneven LJ Index Score Ranges Are More Informative
April 15, 2014
NCLIS 30th Anniversary logoTo the Library Research Service main page
Back to the main LDA page