Library Stat of the Week #9: Globally, one in every 1525 workers is a member of library staff, but it’s 1 in 613 in North America, and 1 in 237 in Estonia!

Library Stat of the Week 9 - Globally, one in every 1525 workers is a member of library staff, but it's 1 in 613 in North America and 1 in 237 in EstoniaLast week, we looked at the number of librarians for every 100 000 people around the world, with Oceania coming in highest at 84 – that’s one in every 1190 people.

But what about library staff in the workforce? How big a share of jobs are as librarians and related staff members (defined as librarians, other professional staff, project staff and assistants)?

This matters because in addition to the role that libraries play in their communities, librarianship in itself is a significant profession, like journalism, publishing, or architecture.

Librarians can also contribute to the success of businesses and other organisations through effective knowledge management and presentation.

In order to understand how big a share of the workforce librarians represent, we therefore compared Library Map of the World data on number of library staff (including librarians, assistants and project staff) with World Bank figures on the size of the workforce.

Globally – or at least for the 111 countries for which we can carry out the analysis – there are 2.1 million library staff in a workforce of 3.2 billion. This means that one in every 1525 workers is a librarian or other professional staff member.

Graph showing the number of library staff as a share of the workforce

But as always, this varies, with North America having the biggest share of librarians in the total workforce – 1 in 613, closely followed by Europe outside of the EU at 1 in 650 (the figure for Europe as a whole is 1 in 759) and with Oceania a little further behind at 1 in 748.

In eleven countries, 1 in 500 or fewer workers is a library staffer, with Estonia coming in top at 1 in 237. Cuba scores highest outside of Europe at 1 in 374 (Chile comes in on 1 in 517).

In Asia, Macao has the largest share of librarians in the workforce (1 in 514), in North America it’s the United States (1 in 589), in Oceania it’s Australia (1 in 590), in the Middle East and North Africa it’s Qatar (1 in 3126) and in Africa it’s Namibia (1 in 3934).

To give a sense of comparison, this means that in a country like the United States, for example, there are almost three times as many library staff as there are architects, while in the UK, there are 50% more library staff than there are people working in publishing.


Find out more on the Library Map of the World, where you can download key library data in order to carry out your own analysis! See our other Library Stats of the Week! We are happy to share the data that supported this analysis on request.