Size isn’t everything… but these Library figures are guaranteed to impress

Let’s do some accounting – no, really, don’t run away. It’s going to be fun.

Just so you know, I am in no way an accountant. I am a literature graduate, so this will be some very creative accounting. If only I could apply these skills to my overdraft… By Carina Hart

So, how much did you spend on course texts last year? I’m guessing a bit less than £4,390,439. Yeah! Four and a half million pounds in one year.

And before you say that you totally haven’t used enough books to make that worthwhile: have you ever zipped through a bunch of online journal articles just before an essay deadline? Well, more than half of that hefty resources budget went on electronic journal subscriptions: £2,850,128. Those babies are expensive.

They’re being used, too. Last year 2,412,720 electronic journal articles were downloaded, so that’s about a quid paid for each article used. That number is almost twice as many downloads of e-books (1,500,571) or print books borrowed (1,316,352) last year.

It seems that electronic resources are the future, which might save the Library having to build an extension to house all the books and other items it’s acquiring. Back in 2007-8, the Library had a mere 7,058 e-books, but by 2013 it had more than ten times that number – 80,991. Imagine squeezing all those onto Floor 5.

By some strange coincidence, the number of print books owned by the Library in 2013 – 1,318,383 – was almost the same (I am not the most precise accountant) as the number of entrances through the Library gates: 1,930,174. How many of those entrances were you?

Perhaps this term you’ll look at some of our archives and manuscripts in the Modern Records Centre – after all, they have 13.7 kilometres of such material. Or you could explore the 392,100 items of ‘Electronic Resources (other)’ that we have aside from e-books and e-journals. What are these items? I have no idea, I am but a humble accountant. I challenge you to find out.

N.B. The figures I’m using are for the 2012-13 academic year, and you can see them in all their glory here

Size isn’t everything… but these Library figures are guaranteed to impress

Infographic: Karina Beck

Image: blackened books/Giulia van Pelt/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

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