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Public Library Statistics

Tennessee Public Libraries at a Glance

The State of Tennessee has 289 local public libraries legally established in accordance with the Tennessee Code Annotated 10-3-101. All of these public libraries are funded by city and/or county local tax resources.

Of the 289 existing public libraries, 100 are branch libraries, including several archives/history branches and 3 bookmobiles.

In the four major metropolitan areas of Tennessee - Memphis-Shelby County, Nashville- Davidson County, Chattanooga-Hamilton County, and Knoxville-Knox County – there are large single-county library systems with multiple branches. There are 11 public libraries that operate independent of either a regional or a metropolitan system.

Libraries within the Regional Library System are divided into five levels according to their service population numbers. Level V libraries serve populations of 50,000 – 300,000 people; Level IV libraries serve populations of 25,000 – 49,999; Level III Libraries serve populations of 10,000-24,999; Level II Libraries serve populations of 5,000 – 9,999 people; and Level I Libraries serve populations of fewer than 5,000.

Tennessee Public Library Statistics FY 2012/2013

Prior Year Tennessee Public Library Statistics

National Public Library Statistics

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The IMLS administers the annual Public Library Survey and collects library data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. This data is available on their website: This site provides the ability to search for public libraries in Tennessee and throughout the United States. It also allows comparisons of public libraries throughout the country using FY 2007-2008 data.


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