Research and Analytics


CIPFA Public Library Actuals Statistics

January 1998

Returns were received from 168 authorities, a response rate of 95%. In order to allow more meaningful comparisons, summary tables have been 'grossed up' to account for missing data. As a result, the class totals shown in the publication may disagree with totals in the summary tables and should be treated with some caution.

Expenditure and Income

In 1996-97 local authorities in the United Kingdom spent a total of 787m (excluding capital charges) on the provision of the public library service. Income from fines, fees and other sources of 64m was received, resulting in overall net expenditure of 723m, an increase of 0.2% over 1995-96, compared to an increase in the RPI of 2.6% over the same period.

The following pie-chart illustrates the make-up of total expenditure.

Components of Total Expenditure
When compared with 1991-92, expenditure on premises has decreased as a proportion of total expenditure from 11.9% to 11.7%, and the proportion of expenditure on books has fallen from 14.5% to 13.0%. The proportion of expenditure on employees has increased from 49.3% in 1991-92 to 55.3% in 1996-97.

Income from fines and fees remains fairly low, but now meets 2.7% of total expenditure compared with 2.4% in 1995-96 and 2.2% in 1991-92.

Table 1 summarises trends in expenditure and income over the past 5 years.

Expenditure and Income 1991-92 to 1996-97
Non-Financial Statistics

As far as the non-financial statistics are concerned, the total number of staff employed has fallen by 1,794.6, or 6.2% since 1991-92. The number of manual staff has been reduced by 27.4%, compared with a reduction of 12.9% for professional staff and 1.5% for other non-manual staff. Table 2 summarises these changes.

Staff Establishment
Turning to the number of service points, there has been a reduction of 173 (excluding mobile libraries) since 1991-92. There are now 4,275 central and branch libraries open to the general public. Mobile libraries have also reduced by 12 to 697. The number of libraries open for 60 hours or more has fallen again from 50 in 1991-92 to 40 in 1996-97. Small part-time libraries have also been subject to closures in recent years. The number of libraries open for less than 10 hours has fallen from 381 in 1991-92 to 255 in 1996-97.

The figures for the period since 1991-92 are summarised in Table 3.

Library Service Points
Issues of books have decreased by more than 75 million since 1991-92. Annual issues per person per year stood at 8.55 in 1996-97 compared to 10.04 in 1991-92.

The total bookstock at 31st March 1997 stood at just over 130 million volumes or 2.21 books per person. However, no information is available on the 'quality' of these books, ie currency and condition.

Stocks and Issues
Inter-Authority comparisons

Inter-Authority comparisons should be undertaken with caution. For example, inner city authorities have a duty to provide lending facilities to a day time population which may far exceed the resident population. Conversely the shire counties have the expense of providing library services to a widely scattered population in rural areas.

Methodology for Grossing Data

Figures in the summary tables have been grossed to account for missing data and non-responding authorities and therefore do not necessarily agree with individual class totals in the main data set.

The grossing methodology is based upon the principle of making an estimate according to the most recent available source.

Financial Information

Where a return has not been received from an authority the total will be derived by attributing the same level of increase among the class average for responders, to the expenditure observed by the authority in the previous year. Where this figure is also missing, then the total expenditure and distribution is scaled to the per capita class average.

Non-Financial Information

Where a return was received in the previous year, the same data are adopted. Otherwise the class average is scaled by resident population.

January 1998

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