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Public Library Materials Fund and Budget Survey 2007-09

LISU has just announced the release of the latest annual survey of public library spending and material funds. The survey, which has been sponsored by Nielsen Book for the last three years, gives details of spending in 2007/08 and the latest budget estimates for 2008/09, for expenditure on a range of library materials as well as overall spending, staffing levels, and numbers of libraries open. The report also contains statistics for 2006/07; allowing us to see trends over this period.

The key points this year are:

Overall Expenditure
Looking at the UK as a whole, 2007/08 has seen no change in total library expenditure, although there is considerable variation between sectors, and a decrease of 1.4% is estimated for 2008/09. Over the two-year period 2006/07 to 2008/09 some authorities are expecting total library expenditure to increase at a higher rate than general inflation. Out of the 146 authorities that supplied both figures, 16 (11%) are expecting total library expenditure to increase by 10% or more. However, the number of authorities expecting such a rise is reducing each year – in 2006-2008, 19 out of 149 (13%) expected such an increase, and in 2005-2007 this was 35 out of 151 authorities (23%).

Materials Expense
Expenditure on materials has increased slightly (0.1%) following a decrease of 1.5% in 2006/07, which is perhaps indicative that total materials budgets are becoming more stable. However, book expenditure has fallen by 1.0% in 2007/08, with a further decrease of 0.5% estimated for 2008/09. In contrast, audio-visual expenditure has increased by 4.2% in 2007/08, although a decrease of 6.6% is anticipated in 2008/09 for the UK overall.

Over the period 2006/07 to 2008/09, 36 out of 158 (23%) authorities supplying sufficient data are anticipating an increase of 10% or more in materials expenditure – although, like overall expenditure, the number expecting such an increase is reducing each year.

As predicted the total reported staff numbers have decreased by 1.2% in 2007/08, the second consecutive fall, with a further decrease of 0.9% predicted for 2008/09. Much of this decrease continues to be in professional staff, where numbers have decreased by 6.2% in 2007/08, and are predicted to fall again by 0.9% in 2008/09. In 2007/08, 20.8% of library staff had professional qualifications compared to 21.8% in 2006/07 and 25.1% in 1996/97.

Service Availability
The number of service points has fallen by 1.0% in 2007/08 – representing a net loss of 38 service points across 42 authorities. In contrast to this, opening hours have increased slightly (0.5%), with a further increase of 0.4% estimated for 2008/09.

The full report will be published on 3 November and printed copies will be available from LISU, whilst free downloads will be available via the Nielsen Book website. An electronic version (Excel spreadsheet) is also available which can be manipulated to obtain deeper and more tailored analysis. An Executive summary is available on request (email:

Paul Dibble, Head of Data Sales at BookData, said: “Nielsen Book is delighted to support this valuable report that LISU produces annually, particularly as there is such tremendous interest and activity within the public library sector at this time. This report provides an extremely timely window
on the state of expenditure within the public library sector and is essential reading for anyone involved in or supplying services to UK Public Libraries.”

Claire Creaser, Director of LISU at Loughborough University, said: “The headline figures from this report give a broad overview of public library spending on materials, but conceal a wide variation between individual authorities. Although the overall picture is one of declining budgets, a number of authorities have seen budget increases, in some cases substantial. There is a wealth of detail in this report which deserves detailed study, and points to areas of good practice which could provide a model for the future.”

The Public Library Materials Fund and Budget Survey is an essential source of information which takes the pulse at key pressure points of the UK public library system. This report is an essential and trusted source of information for management, marketing and as a study aid.

The report is available to download free of charge.

Print copies are available at £37.50
(ISBN: 978-1905499-335; A4) by contacting:
LISU, Loughborough University, Leics LE11 3TU
tel: +44 (0)1509 635 680, fax: +44 (0)1509 635 699, email:
Or via BookNet TeleOrdering

Notes for the Editor:
Claire Creaser, Director, LISU
Loughborough University, LE11 3TU
tel: +44 (0)1509 635 682, fax: +44 (0)1509 635 699, email:

Paul Dibble (Head of Data Sales) BookData or Mo Siewcharran (Head of Marketing) at
Nielsen Book:
Paul Dibble tel: +44 (0)1483 712 274, email:
Mo Siewcharran: tel: +44 (0)1483 712 300, email:

About LISU
LISU is a national research and information centre based at the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University. LISU comprises a team of experienced Information Managers, Statisticians, Researchers and Administrators focusing on the analysis, development, interpretation and dissemination of statistics, performance assessment measures and related management data. LISU seeks to contribute, in appropriate ways, to good management practice in the various public and private sector agencies that make up the strands of the information economy and cultural services.

About Nielsen Book
Nielsen Book has four key brands: Registration Agencies (ISBN, SAN, DOI), BookData, BookNet and BookScan.
Nielsen BookData provides comprehensive, enriched and timely bibliographic data worldwide. Providing a unique source of bibliographic data services to booksellers, libraries and publishers in 110 countries around the world. Under the brand Nielsen BookNet, Nielsen Book also provides value-added transaction services to the industry. The Nielsen BookScan service is the world’s only continuous retail monitoring service for Englishlanguage books. BookScan services are available in the UK, Ireland, US, Australia, South Africa, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Denmark. The group employs more than 150 staff in the UK. The company is wholly owned by The Nielsen Company, one of the world’s largest publishing and information companies.

About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions and recognized brands in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek) and trade shows. The privately held company has more than 42,000 employees and is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA.

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