From Awareness to Funding 2018

OCLC has partnered with the American Library Association (ALA) and its Public Library Association (PLA) division to investigate current perceptions and support among US voters and how they may have shifted since 2008 when OCLC published From Awareness to Funding: A Study of Library Support in America, a national study of the awareness, attitudes, and underlying motivations among US voters for supporting library funding.

From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018

This summary includes key findings from the 2018 research and highlights notable comparisons to 2008 results. The analysis shows that libraries remain valued institutions that most voters have a positive association with and find useful. There continues to be stalwart support for library funding in many communities as evidenced by the fact that the majority of local library ballot measures in recent years have passed. This new national voter data, however, indicates a softening in committed support for libraries over the past decade. Libraries and library advocates should take action to address this downward trend.

Key Findings:

  • a majority of US voters believe public libraries are essential to communities and a source of civic pride
  • voters still highly value traditional library services such as free access to books and quiet areas, but also increasingly value the library as a community hub
  • there continues to be a disconnect between the services libraries offer and public awareness and support for those services
  • although a majority of voters are likely to support library funding at the local ballot box, fewer are committed to definite support than a decade ago
  • a majority of voters still do not realize that the primary source of library funding is local

Download Report (US Letter)



Suggested citation:

OCLC and American Library Association. 2018. From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018. Dublin, OH: OCLC.

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