IMLS Study: Use of Small and Rural Libraries Grows in the Digital Age

chart showing percentage of small and rural libraries in US

Rural and small public libraries in the United States are community anchors, providing critical services and resources to meet a variety of local needs. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) brief, The State of Small and Rural Libraries in the United States, provides the agency’s first targeted analysis of trends for rural and small library services. The report gives an overview of the distribution, service use, fiscal health, and staffing of these important community assets. One of the report’s surprising findings is the sheer number of public libraries that can be classified as either small or rural. In Idaho, 60.4% of public libraries are classified as rural and 85.1% as small.

The report concludes that the broad distribution of small and rural libraries across the country speaks volumes about the value local communities place on library services.

See the full IMLS press release at