This survey collects data that describe the collections, overall library expenditures, materials expenditures, staffing, and operational and service activities of member libraries. This data series began in 1908 and represents the oldest and most comprehensive continuing library statistical series in the United States and Canada. Libraries use these data to describe their operations and demonstrate how resources are used wisely for the benefit of the communities they serve. The data is used to produce the ARL Investment Index, a summary measure of relative size among the universities of the Association.
The pre-1962 data is compiled in the Gerould Statistics. Post-1962 survey data is used to produce the ARL Statistics, the ARL Academic Health Sciences Library Statistics, and the ARL Academic Law Library Statistics series. See the Publications & Resources page for more information about these publications.
ARL and the Association of College and Research Libraries formed a joint task force in 2015 to provide advice to the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on the Academic Libraries Component of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) annual survey. The advisory task force continues to consult with NCES on issues requiring further deliberation.