The International City/County Management Association (ICMA), in partnership with the Aspen Institute and the Public Libraries Association, conducted a nationwide survey in the spring of 2016 focused on the evolving role of public libraries in advancing community goals. The goal of this research was to understand how public libraries can be leveraged to advance community goals and how government agencies can partner with library leaders to better engage, inform, and empower residents. The survey was conducted as part of the Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Public Libraries, and in follow-up to ICMA’s 2010 Public Library Initiative Survey.
The Aspen Institute commissioned follow-up research using the ICMA survey data to examine key factors influencing local government engagement with public libraries. This follow-up study also compared the perceptions of local government leaders on the role of libraries to the perceptions of the public as collected in a 2016 survey conducted by Pew Research Center.