Public Affairs

CSU Libraries: Numbers Validate the Need

May 12, 2011
By Liz Chapin

Out of the one million Californians that visit a library on a typical day, nearly 114,000 visit a CSU library.

That was how many visited the 22 CSU libraries that took part in a statewide event that gathered statistics, comments, pictures, and other data to account for a typical day. The information gathered on Oct. 4, 2010 for the California Library Association’s Snapshot: One Day in the Life of California Libraries will be used to advocate for funding and illustrate the important role libraries play in our communities.

In the CSU system alone, visitors accessed library websites 356,326 times and checked out or renewed 19,288 items. In addition, library staff answered 6,772 reference questions and 27,666 visitors used a library computer.

These statistics confirm the critical access academic libraries provide. Access which enhances the learning experience and aids in research - ultimately contributing to the investment of a college education.

“The stats emphasize how vital each library is to its campus community,” said Les Kong, coordinator for library media services at CSU San Bernardino. “Since each of our campuses support different curricula, their libraries are essentially customized collections of resources, designed to serve the research and instructional needs of the faculty, students and staff.”

Kong, who coordinated gathering the Snapshot information for the CSU's libraries, is also a board member of the California Library Association and California Academic & Research Libraries – two different organizations which Kong says have a lot in common.

“The main role of the campus library is to provide curricular support,” said Kong. “Although the campus library and the community or city library have different goals, they both give their communities priceless access to a wealth of information and resources.”

Kong noted that this access could potentially be cut as both academic and community libraries face budget challenges. In fact, in some cases, critical services such as literacy programs have been completely eliminated at community libraries.

Like higher education, libraries are a public service that gives back more than it gets. They serve as an economic investment by contributing to a more educated workforce and an improved quality of life.

Learn more about the CLA's Snapshot Day and the CSU's libraries:

Snapshot of Library Usage in California

CSU Campus Libraries