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Variable Definitions:
Libraries: The number of libraries in a given area

LA City & LA County Public Library Systems

Years Available:

Methodology Note:

The original data comes at the point level. Our team geocoded the locations to generate X/Y coordinates, then spatial joined each point to 2020 Census Tracts.

Why are these variables important to measure?

The role and use of public libraries is changing as more information becomes available to people through the use of individual technology. Despite these changes, a large majority of Americans still believe that public libraries bring value to their local communities. In-person library use has steadily declined over the past decade in the advent of the digital age. In the past four years, however, the rapid digitization of libraries and availability of electronic resources may help to partially offset the decline in library usage. 

Public library usage remains relatively equally spread across urban, rural, and suburban areas and across races. Women and young people reported higher rates of usage as compared to their male and older counterparts. During the pandemic, specifically,  libraries served as a resource for computers, public wi-fi, and job search resources, particularly for low-income communities. People also reported using libraries for health information, learning about community events and resources, and learning new technologies.

Written by Kyra Chan


The Institute of Museum and Library Services. (2021). The Use and Cost of Public Library Materials: Trends Before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Washington, DC: The Institute.

Public Library Association. (2020, April 9). Public libraries respond to COVID-19: Survey of response & activities. Chicago, IL: Author. Link

Pelczar, M., Frehill, L. M., Nielsen, E, Kaiser, A., Hudson, J., & Wan, T. (2021). Characteristics of Public Libraries in the United States: Results from the FY 2019 Public Libraries Survey. Institute of Museum and Library Services: Washington, D.C. 

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