ASERL co-signs comment opposing removal of American Library Survey from IPEDS

Photo by Leon Wu: Graduates waving their mortarboards at library entrance.
photo by Leon Wu on Unsplash

On May 3, 2024, ASERL joined Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the American Library Association (ALA), and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in submitting a lengthy comment (PDF) objecting to the proposed elimination of the Academic Libraries component from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the interrelated surveys conducted each year by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The associations strongly object to the elimination of academic library data from IPEDS, believing it is essential to understanding the value of libraries and their contributions to the mission of higher education.


Together, our comments demonstrate that:

  1. The American Library (AL) component of IPEDS supports the agency mission and statutory obligation, as well as a higher education ecosystem that relies on this data.
  2. Data from the AL component of IPEDS is critical to understanding the value libraries provide to the institutional mission.
  3. Removal of the AL component from IPEDS — a mandatory and comprehensive reporting system — will deprive institutions of the ability to effectively benchmark with peers for purposes of investment and resource allocation, particularly with respect to student enrollment and success.
  4. With the inclusion of Academic Library data, IPEDS is a unique longitudinal dataset that enables the higher education sector to understand the cost of information over time, as well as the correlation between research expenditures and the cost of information.
  5. The AL burden is both lower than other components of IPEDS and willingly met by libraries themselves.


ASERL and our partners hope our comments will help persuade our NCES colleagues that the American Library survey is a critical tool supporting the continued success of America’s libraries and research systems.