The National Library and the State and Territory libraries throughout Australia are represented by the peak body, National & State Libraries Australasia (NSLA). NSLA members also represent the interests of the public library networks within their States and Territories. The public library network, represented by 1,656 public library service points and outlets across Australia, provides information, collections and services to meet the information needs of the general public including those of diverse user groups. While the ongoing demands for print and audio media continue to be met, the public library network is assisting to break down the digital divide through increasing the scope and availability of digital materials, equipment and associated training.
The Australian Public Libraries Statistical Report is an annual NSLA project that identifies and measures the usage and activities of Australia's public library services. The survey highlights the range of services provided by public libraries across the National, State and Territory libraries.
Australia’s public libraries provide quality information services that support lifelong learning to the Australian community, significantly impacting on the cultural and information industry.
· 1,656 public library service points and outlets with 1,408 branches, 78 mobiles and 170 other outlets.
· Over 165.3 million items were lent to 9.3 million members of Australia’s public libraries.
· Over 113 million customer visits annually, or more than 9.4 million per month.
· Over 36.9 million items (1.5 items per person) were made available for the use of the community and more than $126 million was spent on ensuring that these collections remain up to date and relevant.
· Total expenditure on public libraries has increased from $1.01 billion in 2011-2012 to over $1.18 billion in 2015-2016, representing a 17.3% increase. Expressed on a per capita basis, expenditure on public libraries has increased by 10.2% over the same period to $49.11.
· Library programs totalled over 211,000 with attendance of over 6.1 million.