RLI 280 20
SEPTEMBER 2012 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
Research Library Trends: A Historical Picture of Services,
Resources, and Spending
Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director, ARL Statistics and Service Quality Programs
he ARL Statistics 2010–2011 includes data that describe collections, staffing, expenditures, and
service activities for the 126 members of ARL. Of these 126, 115 are university libraries and 11
are public, governmental, and nonprofit research libraries. ARL member libraries are the largest
research libraries in North America, representing 18 Canadian and 108 US research institutions. The
academic libraries include 16 Canadian and 99 US libraries, which compose 91% of the membership.
ARL libraries are a relatively small subset of libraries in North America, but they do account for a
large portion of academic library resources in terms of assets, budgets, and the number of users they
serve. The total expenditures of all 126 member libraries in 2010–2011 were slightly more than $4.6 billion,
with approximately $3.2 billion spent by the 115 university libraries and more than $1.3 billion by the non-
The data collected from ARL member libraries for the ARL Statistics describe a number of trends over
the past 25 years. Some of those trends are depicted in the six charts discussed on the following pages.