I missed this report when it was released back in December, 2011 by COSLA, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies. According to a survey of state libraries from the summer of 2011, 39% of public libraries reported offering no downloadable media service – no ebooks, no audiobooks, and no videos.
Here is more from the press release:
The Chief Officers of State Library agencies recently surveyed their membership to determine the extent to which U.S. public libraries are offering downloadable ebooks, audiobooks and videos for use on portable devices like e-readers and smartphones.
The results of the survey, conducted this summer, showed that 39% of public libraries in the U.S. had not yet begun to offer downloadable media service to their communities, a matter of great concern to state librarians.
The 39% of public libraries not yet offering downloadable media serve about 16% of the US population served by libraries.
While the COSLA survey did not attempt to discover the characteristics of the libraries lagging behind in offering downloadable media, the COSLA E-Book Task Force believes that most are small and rural public libraries with small budgets. COSLA has adopted a goal for all U.S. public libraries to offer ebooks and other downloadable media by 2015 at the latest.
Library Journal also has a nice article on the COSLA survey.