The Library by the Numbers

Ever wondered, how many people come into the Library in a year, or how long all the bookshelves would be if you stacked them end to end? These impressive Library statistics might satisfy your curiosity… Words and pictures by Chris Vernon 

Have you ever found yourself queuing to get into the Library and idly wondered how many people pass through those same gates every year? How about when you first went on to the upper floors and looked out across those seemingly endless rows of shelves? Did you stop for a moment to think how many books might be on them?

No? Fair enough, university life can be pretty busy and this may not be top of your priority list compared with assignment deadlines and exam revision. But part of making the Library as good as we possibly can is knowing what you need and when, and that means keeping a close eye on these things.* What’s more, the numbers involved are pretty impressive and comparing them over the past few years can also tell some interesting stories about how the library has changed.

The Library by the Numbers

For starters, guess how many books there are in the Library. Half a million? A million? More? There are actually a whopping 1,392,273 books in the Library’s collection. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, though more and more texts are going online and at the last count the Library also had 205,666 e-books. That’s nearly three times as many as there were in 2011 and close to 30 times as many as there were in 2007-8. We also have subscriptions to 62,654 e-journals, which might not sound like that many, until you realise that it adds up to (literally) millions of journal articles.

So, how are you using all this stuff? Well, increasingly it seems you’re abandoning analogue in favour of the digital. The number of issues of physical books has fallen significantly over the last few years, to 1,029,112, down almost half a million since 2011. Meanwhile e-book accesses almost quadrupled to 4,065,305, and downloads of e-journal articles jumped to 3,456,125. But however you’re doing it, that’s a lot of reading, which makes us very happy indeed!

The Library by the Numbers

Unsurprisingly, all those pages, whether printed or electronic, cost a lot of money. The Library invested £5,040,847 on resources to support learning and research at Warwick last year. But you might be surprised to hear that over half of that, £3,337,248, went on e-journals! The Library also spent £599,490 on print books and even more, £868,207, on e-books.

The Library by the NumbersWith this explosion in electronic resources, you might expect the Library to be a lot quieter than it was five years ago, but actually the number of entries has gone up in recent years. In 2014/15, we had 2,295,829 entries, which is 63% more than there were in 2011.

The Library by the NumbersSo the Library is still a busy and buzzing place at the heart of the Warwick campus, even as more of you do your course reading online.

Your Library is constantly changing and developing to connect you with information, support and your community. Who knows what stories the stats will tell in the future?

Want to read more? You can check out five years of Library facts and figures at

*OK, OK, the fact that, as Librarians, we’re also massive geeks who love a spreadsheet might have a little bit to do with it!

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