Public Library Web Sites, July 2004 (v.7, n.4)

Massachusetts public libraries were first asked about having their own web sites on the FY1999 Annual Report Information Survey (ARIS), which requested electronic service data for FY1998. At that time, 121 (34%) of the 361 libraries reporting indicated that they had a home page. Since then, the number of public libraries with web sites has almost doubled, to 249 (68%) of the 364 public libraries that reported data for FY2003.

Web Site Hits

Public libraries in Massachusetts were first asked about web site statistics on the FY2001 ARIS, which surveyed activities during FY2000. Sixty-nine (38%) of the 184 libraries that reported having web sites in FY2000 collected web site data. These libraries reported a total of 4,855,261 hits. For FY2003, 139 (56%) of the 249 libraries with web sites reported a total of 145,129,305 hits.

The following table details the growth in the number of public libraries with web sites and the number of libraries that gather web site statistics since FY1998:

Public library web sites and hits


FY1998 FY2000 FY2001 FY2002 FY2003
Number of public libraries with web sites 121 (34%) 184 (51%) 197 (54%) 230 (64%) 249 (68%)
Web site hits not asked 4,855,261 28,097,410 97,337,392 145,129,305
Number of libraries reporting web site statistics not asked 69 (38%) 90 (46%) 118 (51%) 139 (56%)
total number of libraries reporting 361 362 366 362 364

Distribution of public libraries reporting web statistics

In general, public libraries serving larger populations were much more likely to have web sites and collect web site statistics than those serving smaller population groups.

Number and percentage of public libraries reporting web site statistics, by population group

Population Group FY2000* FY2001 FY2002** FY2003
under 2,000 1 of 59 (2%) 3 of 57 (5%)) 3 of 69 (4%) 6 of 69 (9%)
2,000-4,9999 2 of 52 (4%) 4 of 51 (8%) 7 of 55 (13%) 8 of 55 (15%)
5,000-9,999 10 of 71 (14%) 15 of 71 (21%) 20 of 72 (28%) 22 of 68 (32%)
10,000-14,999 7 of 56 (13%) 10 of 54 (19%) 16 of 54 (30%) 21 of 55 (38%)
15,000-24,999 14 of 53 (26%) 14 of 56 (25%) 23 of 52 (44%) 25 of 54 (46%)
25,000-49,999 23 of 57 (40%) 27 of 58 (47%) 29 of 45 (64%) 36 of 46 (78%)
50,000-99,999 9 of 19 (47%) 12 of 18 (67%) 12 of 18 (67%) 16 of 18 (89%)
100,000 and over 3 of 4 (75%) 5 of 5 (100%) 4 of 5 (80%) 5 of 5 (100%)

* There were a total of 371 independent public libraries in FY2001 and 370 thereafter.

** Beginning with FY2002, public libraries in municipalities with multiple independent public libraries have been arranged in population groups according to the percentage of the population served by the library, rather than the population of the municipality.



Prepared by James Lonergan, State Aid Specialist

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Page last updated on 08/27/2007