Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Setting Up a Public Library
Within the United States, the American Library Association can provide guidance and information on your project. However, because state library laws vary, checking with your state library should be an early step, in order to get an idea of what it takes to establish a library, and what kind of assistance, including financial, is available for your library.
IMLS Grants to States Program
The Grants to States program is the largest source of federal funding support for library services in the U.S.
State Library Agencies
Overview of United States state library agencies, their functions, and links to directories.
Public Library Statistics
Public Libraries Survey (PLS)
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 (main libraries, branches, and bookmobiles) in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and outlying territories.
Data includes information about library visits, circulation, size of collections, public service hours, staffing, electronic resources, operating revenues and expenditures and number of service outlets.
PLDS and PLAmetrics
The PLDS captures valuable, data (voluntarily submitted annually) on staffing, operating finances, output measures, interlibrary loaning, and technology provisions, from public libraries throughout the U.S. and Canada. In addition, each year's survey contains a special survey highlighting statistics on one service area or public library topic. PLAmetrics is the online portal to the PLDS. An annual subscription to PLAmetrics offers the most efficient, customized, and user-friendly way to analyze all the data that PLDS provides.
Books on Setting Up a Public Library
The Public Library Start-Up Guide by An estimated thirteen million people in the U.S. are not served by a public library. This presents opportunities for creating new libraries. Involving complex, time-consuming, and expensive decisions, the prospect of starting a library without the right direction seems overwhelming. The Public Library Start-Up Guide provides a framework for success - from looking at the big strategic picture to picking the furniture. the practical issues for library professionals as well as nonlibrarians who need to know where to start. With savvy guidance on all aspects of providing public library service, this is the comprehensive one-stop resource for planning and starting a new library. Community leaders, Friends of Libraries, trustees, policymakers, and municipal officials as well as librarians will find a friendly, accessible, and concise guide to help them get the job done.
Publication Date: 2003-01-01
The Small Public Library Survival Guide by This guide gives you tested and practical techniques to ensure your library's growth. It includes practical tools and tested strategies as well as hands-on guidelines for attracting local support and building partnerships.
Publication Date: 2008-07-01
Introduction to Public Librarianship by Discover the rich history, current challenges, and future possibilities of public library services with the revision of the text Library Journal called "a treasure." Praise for the previous edition: "The work as a whole is a treasure, an essential tool for the LIS teacher. Kudos to McCook for this massive reservoir of original research and thoughtful analysis that will serve as a correction to its less-thorough predecessors." - Library Journal Here is the much anticipated second edition of author Kathleen de la Pe a McCook's groundbreaking one-of-a-kind resource that is used in libraries and universities across the nation and definitively sets the standard for public librarianship literature. Cited as one of the top twenty researchers in library science, de la Pe a McCook, a distinguished university professor and renowned public library scholar, has thoroughly revised and updated every one of the book's chapters to provide both professionals and LIS students with the most current and comprehensive introduction to public librarianship. McCook covers every aspect of the public library, from its earliest history to its current incarnation in the 21st century information environment. Following three engaging chapters on the history of public libraries, her thorough Table of Contents includes: * Statistics, Standards, Planning, Evaluations and Results * Organization, Law, Funding, Politics, Publicity * Administration and Staffing * Structure and Infrastructure. Web sites. Library 2.0 * Adult Services * Youth Services * Associations, State Library Agencies, Standards, Rankings and Quality of Life * Global Perspectives on Public Libraries * Human Rights: A New Paradigm for Public Library Service Readers will especially welcome the new coverage of Web 2.0 and its massive impact, as well as global perspectives on the public library, and insight into the relationship between public library services and human rights. Exhaustively researched and
Publication Date: 2011-02-01