Research and Analytics


CIPFA Public Library Estimates Statistics

September 2003

This is the thirtieth annual compilation of the Public Library statistics based on estimates and it is the fourteenth edition to include statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland. Returns have been received from 208 authorities, representing a response rate of 100%. In order to allow more meaningful comparisons, summary tables have been 'grossed-up' to account for missing data.

In 2003-04 local authorities in the United Kingdom are expecting to spend a total of just over 1,016m on the provision of the public library service, with income of about 86m anticipated from fines and other sources. The estimated net expenditure (including capital charges) of 1,038m shows an increase of 4.7% over 2002-03 compared to an increase in the RPI of 3.1% over the same period.

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

Components of Total Expenditure
Income from customer and client receipts, which includes fines and fees, meets only 5.3% of total expenditure. The main purpose of fines is of course to encourage users to return material they have borrowed from the library promptly. However, the income derived from this source is a use ul element towards containing net expenditure.

The net cost per 1,000 population (including Capital Charges) for the public library service is 17,538, which is just under 34 pence per person per week.

Non-Financial Statistics

Library authorities in the UK expect to employ a total of 27,392.3 staff, this is a increase of 600.6 or 2.2% over 1999-2000. The number of professional staff employed has decreased by 3.5% since 1999-2000. The overall increase in staff, however, has been kept buoyant by a steady growth in other areas such as administration and clerical staff. Table 1 summarises the five year trend.

Staff Establishment Figures (UK) - Five Year Trends
The statistics show that the number of Service Points in the UK is forecast to decrease by 107 or 2.2% over the last five years. The figures for the period since 1999-2000 summarised in Table 2.

Library Service Points (UK) - Five Year Trends
The total book stock at the beginning of the financial year was estimated to be just over 115 million volumes, the equivalent of 2.0 books per person. The book stock has decreased by about a million since last year's estimate, but despite this, the number of books per person is forecast to increase as the population falls.

Inter-Authority Comparisons

In general inter authority comparisons should be undertaken with caution because their validity is affected by factors such as daytime population in city authorities and the expense of rural library provision for a widely scattered population in country areas.

Expenditure and Income per 1,000 Resident Population 2003-04
Expenditure and Income 2003-04
Staff Establishment
Service Points

September 2003

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