SCONUL statistics reports

Return to Publications

Analyses drawn from the SCONUL Annual Statistics

SCONUL has been collecting and publishing statistics from university libraries for more than 30 years, providing a rich source of information for members to draw on for identifying trends and benchmarking against other institutions. In 2015, we began publishing focused reports and analyses which draw on this data and seek to examine particular trends and issues of strategic importance to library directors and their institutions. 

  • The Covid-19 library continued (2022): The 2019-20 report explored the early impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK HE sector. This report for the 2020-21 SCONUL Annual Statistics revisits some of the topics included last year, as well as considering the questions added to the survey aiming to capture how libraries adapted their services to deal with the pandemic. 
  • The Covid-19 library (2021): This report for the 2019-20 SCONUL Annual Statistics looks at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK HE sector and considers how this may shape the academic libraries of the future.  2020 proved to be a year like no other, and HE institutions throughout the world were forced to quickly adapt to an entirely online presence, with staff largely working from home and students unable to attend campuses. Academic libraries were at the forefront of these changes ensuring that both staff and students were able to access resources remotely as well as continuing to receive any relevant training – albeit virtually.
  • The hybrid library (2020): This report looks at the broader range of services being offered by academic libraries such as 24-hour opening and laptop loans, the degree to which additional services/facilities are located within library spaces and the potential impact, if any, these additional services have on traditional usage measures such as footfall and loans. 
  • Research support offered by UK academic libraries (2019): Over recent years the role libraries play in supporting research has deepened and widened. This spotlight on the 2017–18 SCONUL Annual Statistics investigates the role of the library in a range of research support activities in the UK.
  • The continuing evolution of UK academic libraries (2018): This report investigates the ongoing changes taking place in UK academic libraries and the impact these changes are having on overall library usage. It explores trends in the purchase and use of print and electronic books, provision of IT (both fixed and laptop loans) for students and how library buildings/spaces are being adapted and used to support student learning and whether this has had an impact on visits to library buildings. It illustrates that e-resources are now a central element of the service provided and academic libraries are continuing to evolve in order to keep pace with constant technological advancements, as well as the changing perceptions and attitudes of users as a result.
  • The changing roles of library staff (2017): This report examines how library staff are adapting to meet both the demands of the ever growing digital world and the management of the continuing popularity of the library as learning spaces. We look at trends around staff numbers, changing roles and how staff time is being used. For instance, with the growth of open access, many HE libraries are taking a lead in delivering green OA, managing APCs and RDM.  This provides opportunities for libraries and library staff to develop new services and skills.
  • Evolving library spaces and practice (2016): This report examines how libraries have adapted to thrive in a changing environment. We look at trends around how space and staff time are being used, and we identify some potential outcomes of these changes. For instance, where libraries have decreased print stock and increased the number of study spaces, there is some evidence of increased engagement with library use and positive NSS scores. 
  • Changing trends in loans, visits, and the use of e-books (2015): This report looks at trends in the use of particular resources. As one might anticipate, students are using more digital resources. But this report shows that the usage of electronic resources has not correlated with a decrease in use of library space. In fact, footfall per full-time student has remained steady, indicating that the library buildings and spaces are as relevant as ever to users, even if the resources are available virtually. 

The full SCONUL Annual Statistics are available to members (if you are a member, click here to view the annual statistics and use the reporting tool). The full publication is available to non-members to purchase. Contact us for more details

A copy of the statement of purpose and use of the statistics is available here.