Since 1961, the Association of Research Libraries annually publishes statistics collected from its members describing the collections, staffing, print and electronic materials expenditures, and service activities of its member libraries.  Many of the numbers shared here were collected by IU Libraries as part of this important benchmarking activity. The ARL is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries at comprehensive research institutions in Canada and the US sharing similar research missions, aspirations, and achievements.

2018-2019 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Ranking:

IU Libraries is 12th among public academic libraries in North America, and
6th in the Big Ten Academic Alliance as measured by expenditures.

This page offers two ways of looking back.  For detailed data and charts, scroll down beyond the timeline. To see our stories and progress, click right to advance the timeline below.

IU Libraries Year in Review

Our Commitment to Teaching, Learning, and Collections Access

On March 21, 2020, IU Libraries closed all physical library buildings to employees, faculty, and students for the remaining months of the fiscal year.  This closure impacted many of the statistics reported annually by IU Libraries, given the sudden ceasing of measured activities. The data shared on this page is from our most recent fiscal year, the period of July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020. 


11,260,449 total cataloged items, 214,961 ebooks added to the collection, 482,404 rare books held at the Lilly Library, and 759, 716 cataloged items at the William and Gayle Cook Music Library.
July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020: Increased Ebook share of collection items
The number 7,126,648 is layered on top of a blurry image.
July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020: IU Libraries items available electronically
IU Libraries had 15,349 reference interactions in FY 2020; 8,032 of which were virtual.
July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020: Reference interactions continued despite physical building closure due to COVID-19.
1,354 Oral Histories transcribed; 988 Audio Histories publicly available; 45 student employees involved in collection efforts; 8 campuses participating in collection efforts
July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020: Bicentennial Oral History Collection Efforts
IU Libraries recorded 1,778 instruction sessions, which were attended by 21,974 attendees.
July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020: IU Libraries Recorded Instruction

Of note, virtual reference includes telephone, instant message, and email requests. Zoom reference interactions are not tracked separately at present.

Despite the challenges of 2020, we have continued our service as a relevant, high-functioning library system, resilient in the face of the unexpected.



Our FY 2020 Usage Rates


An infographic shows a total circulation number of 149,435 and that 25,372 items were lent to other libraries. 17,174 items were borrowed by IU Libraries.
July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020: 149,435 items from physical collections were circulated.

Interlibrary Loan (Ill) data shows that IU Libraries borrowed 17,174 items for the IU community, and loaned 25,372 to other academic libraries.  Counts are impacted by multiple-month restricted access to library collections during building closure.

A chart showing IU Libraries recorded 3,943,273 accesses of electronic books and journals. Of that number, 1,440,431 were requests for ebooks, and 2,502,842 were full-text journal article requests from subscription services.
July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020: IU Libraries recorded 3,943,273 accesses of electronic books and journals.

Data shows that IU Libraries recorded 3,943,273 accesses of electronic books and journals. Of those nearly four million accesses, 2,502,842 were full-text journal article requests from subscription services; and 1,440,431 were ebook requests.

The number 2,489,320 is placed on top of an image of the Wells Library.
July 1, 2019-June 30 2020: Total number of visits to all library locations.

Count is impacted by multiple months of total building closure due to the coronavirus.

Pie chart showing 954,139 visitors to the Wells Library Learning Commons, 551,490 to the Wells Scholars Commons, 109,776 to other Wells Library destinations, such as lobby, restroom, or ground floor cafeteria areas, and 873,917 visitors to other library branches, including Business/SPEA, Music, Education, Sciences, and Life Sciences branches.
July 1, 2019-June 30 2020: Visit visualization by location.

Counts are impacted by multiple months of total building closure due to the coronavirus.

Work is approaching completion for the second phase of IU's ambitious effort to digitally preserve all significant audio, video, and film recordings on all IU campuses by the IU Bicentennial in 2020.
Data below reflects project status as fiscal year 2020 came to an end.

345,367 items digitized in the MDPI effort; 326,832 audio and video items were digitized in MDPI's first phase, and 18,535 films were digitized in MDPI's second phase.


Phase one of the IU Media and Digitization Preservation Initiative, focused on audio and video formats, is complete. Extended efforts are directed to secure IU's film collections from units such as the Archives of African American Music and Culture, the Lily Library, University Archives, and of course, the internationally-known IU Libraries Moving Image Archive. Film collections at regional IU campus are also part of the ambitious project scope. After digitization is complete, preservation specialists review digital files to add metadata, review rights ownership, and where possible, make available through IU Libraries Media Collections Online. More than 25,000 films will be digitized for preservation in phase two, adding to the more than 330,000 audio and video items already digitized.