Today, Ithaka S+R is releasing the US Library Survey 2016, which tracks the perspectives and practices of academic libraries whose institutions offer a bachelor’s degree or higher. We achieved strong participation by library deans and directors, with a response rate of 49%. The project examines the key strategic directions these leaders and their libraries are pursuing as well as some of the constraints against which they act.

Our findings fall into a number of key categories:

  • Library directors anticipate increased resource allocation towards services and predict the most growth for positions related to teaching and research support.
  • Library directors are deeply committed to supporting student success, yet many find it difficult to articulate these contributions.
  • Collections have been digitally transformed, and directors are interested in expanding their collecting to include more non-textual materials.
  • Library directors are increasingly recognizing that discovery does not and should not always happen through the library.
  • Library directors are pursuing strategic direction with a decreasing sense of support from their institutions.


In the full publication, which is available here, we also examine trends relative to previous cycles of this survey, stratifications by Carnegie classification, and comparisons against faculty members who we surveyed a year earlier.

The Library Survey provides unique insights into the perspectives, priorities, and long-term plans of library leaders across institutional types. As you read the report, we are eager to hear how these findings resonate with your experience and hope you will share your comments here on our blog.