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Library Statistics

1. Introduction: Libraries have been keeping voluminous library statistics for many decades to focus their resources on needed services, demonstrate the value of their services, aid library administrator in the administration of their libraries, and to satisfy the needs of funding bodies. Historically, the emphasis has been on profiling communities and library users, collection sizes and growth, and circulation. The qualitative and quantitative data regarding library staff, library infrastructure or facilities, library collection, library services, library users and use of the library or any part of it are known as library statistics.

2. Need of Library Statistics: According to IFLA Library Statistics Manifesto which was endorsed by the Governing Board on 9 April 2010, “Library statistics are necessary for the effective management of libraries, but they are still more important for promoting library services to the different types of stakeholders: policy makers and funders, library managers and staff, actual and potential users, the media and the general public. Where statistics are aimed at policy makers, managers and funders, they are essential for decisions on levels of service and future strategic planning”. The need of library statistics can be looked from the following angles-
a) Comparison: It helps to the librarian for comparison between previous and current library activities. It also helps in comparing a particular library with other library.
b) Evaluation: It helps to librarian for evaluation of the library resources, services and staff performance.
c) Report: It helps to prepare different kinds of report and writing down the history of the library. User statistics is an essential component of the annual report of the library. The annual report supplemented by the user statistics in figures or any graph carries more weight and become more convincing to the authorities.

3. Sources of Library Statistics: Library statistics can be collected from-
a) Different Registers: Registers maintained by different sections for example gate register or entry register or visitors register, accession register; etc can be highly useful for collecting different kinds of library statistics. Daily or weekly or monthly or quarterly statistical reports sent by different sections to the librarian are considered as useful sources of users statistics. The visitor’s register that is kept on the entrance door of the library where the users are required to fill up the columns with their signature gives the total number of library users of a library in a particular day, month or year.
b) Library Software: The library automation, digital library or any other software also generate different kinds of reports which open up different dimension of the library statistics. While all automated library systems keep statistics on acquisitions, cataloguing, and circulation activity, some do not keep track of the number of searches against the patron access catalogue because that is a resource-intensive activity. It is possible to include this capability as an extra-cost option. The cost consists of minor programming and, possibly, some hardware.
c) Web Analytics: Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring web traffic but can be used as a tool to assess and improve the effectiveness of a website. Google Analytics is the most widely used on-site web analytics service; although new tools are emerging that provide additional layers of information, including heat maps and session replay.
d) Model Questionnaire of IFLA: A model questionnaire for public and academic libraries has been developed in a joint project of IFLA and UNESCO and ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. Based on the ISO standard for library statistics, a questionnaire with 23 questions has been developed that considers both traditional and electronic library services.
e) ISO 16439 standard: The standard ISO 16439, Methods and procedures for assessing the impact of libraries, is the first documentation concerning the evaluation of the impact of libraries. In the standard, the concept of impact and other focal terms are defined and the standard is intended as a tool for the evaluation of impact of all types of libraries.

4. Presentation of Library Statistics:  A simple database or spreadsheet on a PC is all that most libraries need to maintain and manipulate their data. Library statistics can be put in different forms such as –
a) Database: A database is a collection of information that is organized into fields (a single piece of information), records (a complete set of fields), and files (a collection of records). Among the most widely used is Microsoft Access.
b) Spreadsheet: A spreadsheet is a rectangular grid used to collect and calculate data. It is basically an electronic version of a ledger book. It allows one to figure totals, calculate formulae, sort information, and translate the information in a spreadsheet into graphs. Among the most widely used spreadsheets is Microsoft Excel.
            The library statistics latter on can be presented in tables, graphs, bar diagram, pie diagram, histogram, line diagram and so on.

5. Conclusion: Library statistics are used to inform, promote and advocate library services. They demonstrate the value that libraries provide to their users and to society. When presented to policy makers, funding institutions or the general public, they will influence the strategic planning, and they can create and maintain confidence in libraries.

How to Cite this Article?
APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.
Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.
MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.

Badan BarmanBadan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links ( - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the UGC NET Guide ( and LIS Study ( website.

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