HELMS - Statistics

The UK Higher Education Library Management Statistics (HELMS) are supplementary to the SCONUL Statistics, containing a small set of management statistics about UK higher education libraries. The statistics are drawn from both library specific data collected by SCONUL and from national UK data collected by HESA (the Higher Education Statistics Agency). They are designed to be of use to senior managers in higher education institutions as well as those directly involved with managing libraries.

The statistics were derived as part of a research project undertaken with funds from the British Library which built on the post-Follett work culminating in The Effective Academic Library *. The data set was selected, following consultation with higher education institutions, by the Higher Education Management Statistics Group (HEMS) - a joint working group of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (CVCP), the Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP) and the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals (COSHEP). The tables include all institutions who are included in the HEMS publications.

The statistics are published separately from the remainder of the HEMS statistics as they involve the use of data not collected by an official agency. Nonetheless the statistics will prove useful to senior managers in higher education institutions, HEMS' intended audience, and as such they are published with HEMS' endorsement. To aid use, the HESA layout is followed as closely as possible, but the responsibility for these statistics rests entirely with SCONUL and their contracted statistical agency, LISU, at Loughborough University. A number of charts and graphs summarising the data has been included, with a brief commentary on a selection of key indicators.

(Text adapted from foreword provided by Professor Sir Ron Cooke.)

From 2009-10, the statistics have been incorporated into the HEIDI database, maintained by HESA. Volumes of the UK Higher Education Library Management Statistics from 2010-11 onward are available as a pdf, to members only here

For earlier volumes (ISSN 1475-6889), and all non-members, please contact sconul@sconul.ac.uk for details, quoting the academic year required along with the quantity.


* See the 'Follett report' - the Joint Funding Councils' Libraries Review Group Report, December 1993 - published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and The effective academic library: a framework for evaluating the performance of UK academic libraries, a consultative report by the Joint Funding Councils' Ad-hoc Group on Performance Indicators for Libraries, published also by HEFCE, March 1995.


HELMS statistics are a subset of the main SCONUL data set. All UK HE institutions reporting to HESA are listed in the tables. The following data fields are included:

SCONUL Library Management Statistics

  • Total Library Expenditure per FTE User
  • Expenditure on Information Provision per FTE User
  • Expenditure on Library Staffing per FTE User
  • Study Place Hours per Week per FTE User
  • Loans per FTE User
  • ILL as percentage of all Loans

SCONUL Library Contextual Data

  • Number of Libraries
  • Space Occupied
  • Size of Collection
  • Number of Study Places Available
  • Number of Workstations
  • Total Library Expenditure

HESA Institutional Contextual data

  • Number of Students (FTE)
  • % of Post-graduate students
  • % of Part-time students
  • Number of Academic and research staff (FTE)
  • Expenditure on Total Academic Services
  • Proportion offunding council funding for research

N.B. - "FTE User" is defined here as FTE Students plus FTE Academic staff. Note that this is not the same as the definition used in the Annual Library Statistics, which also includes other staff and external users.