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UK Research Libraries Busier Than Ever
1st August 2011
New figures from RLUK university members have challenged the tired stereotype of academic libraries as being quiet, dusty, and increasingly empty. Figures for 2009/10 (the latest for which full data are available) show that there were over 35 million visits to RLUK’s 23 UK university member libraries. This represented an increase of 10% on the previous year and is the highest total since records began, with some institutions recording increases of over 20% in a single year.
The library retains its place as a keystone in any 21st Century university's strategy for success in research and teaching. With expanding opening hours, innovative and flexible reconfiguring of space, and increased access to a variety of resources in a wide range of media, the library is an essential part of campus life.
Research on library trends has shown that this increase in the number of visits to RLUK libraries is reflected in an increase in the number of loans and renewals of the physical stock. The ‘traditional’ functions of the library continue to be valued, as well as the additional new services that our members are introducing. This value is reflected in the consistently high scores received for library provision in annual student satisfaction surveys.
“The modern university library is a vibrant and exciting place to be”, said Phil Sykes, Chair of RLUK. “Here at Liverpool University we have seen a 19% increase in visits over the past year. More than ever our researchers and students value both the resources and the physical environment we provide for them”.
About RLUK: Research Libraries UK is a consortium of 30 of the largest research organizations in the UK and Ireland, including the three UK national libraries. Founded more than 25 years ago, RLUK has directly and indirectly sponsored some of the major free online UK resources in support of research, including Copac, the de facto UK Union Catalogue. RLUK is dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of research library support.