According to UNESCO's definition, a library is any organised collection of printed books and periodicals or other graphic or audiovisual materials. The staff enables and facilitates the use of the required materials for information, research, teaching or recreation.
The statistics on scientific and special libraries are compiled annually by Statistics Austria as a voluntary survey. Since the reporting year 2010, it has been supplemented by data from Austrian Library Statistics (ÖBS), which are compiled by the Higher Education Centre of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia on behalf of the Austrian Library Network and Service. The data includes media inventory, new media acquisitions, library usage, and library staff and expenditures. The statistics for public libraries come from the Austrian Library Association (BVÖ).