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For Information: Statistics

NHS Library/Knowledge Services Statistics

Click on the hyperlink to go to the section on this page:

1. Introduction

2. National reports

3. Annual Collection of LKS Statistics

3.1 The Process

3.2 Recent forms and notices

 1. Introduction

NHS library/knowledge services regularly collect data on the activities that they undertake. These were collated nationally by:

  • the NHS Regional Librarians Group (RLG) until March 2002,

  • the NHS Library and Knowledge Development Network (LKDN) from April 2002 until March 2007

  • the National Library for Health (NLH) from April 2007 until March 2009

  • the Strategic Health Authority Library Leads (SHALL) from April 2009 until March 2013

  • the HEE LKS Leads from April 2013.

For some financial years the Library and Information Statistics Unit (LISU) at Loughborough University were commissioned to analyse the data on a national and region-wide basis.

2. National NHS Libraries Activity Data

Some published versions of NHS library activity are available:  

  • NHS Regional Librarians Group Census of staff providing library services to NHS personnel April 1978, 1979

  • NHS Regional Librarians Group Census of staff providing library services to NHS personnel December 1985, 1987. 

  • NHS Regional Librarians Group statistics for the financial years (i.e. 1 April to 31 March) for 1991 to 2001.

Copies may be available from your LKS Lead.

Electronic versions of the data analysed by LISU are available for:

1999-2000 [download a pdf copy],

2000-2001 [download a pdf copy] and

2004-2005 [download a pdf copy]

Collations of statistics

Some fomally published reports are available.

A number of reports produced for LKS Leads (only accessible to NHS LKS members) are also available mainly covering 2007-08 to date.

3. Annual Collection of LKS Statistics

The annual statistical collection is part of the HEE LKSL work programmes and the national collection is currently co-ordinated by a member of the group (Linda Ferguson).

Statistics of NHS library services activity are collected on an annual basis for the previous NHS financial year i.e. 1 April to 31 March. 

3.1 The Process

Each year an Annual NHS Library Services Statistical Return is produced in Excel, together with a document that outlines any changes that have been made to the return since the previous collection. The changes document is issued in advance of the year to which it refers to allow service managers time to review or introduce data collection methods in their services. Excel collation tools are also produced for the LKS Leads.

The LKS Leads distribute the return to service managers who provide NHS library/knowledge services. Managers return the completed Excel spreadsheet to their  LKS Lead who collates their returns and send the results to the national co-ordinator.

The national co-ordinator produces some nationally collated results to support the work of the LKS Leads Resource Discovery Group e.g. expenditure on books, journals and databases and information to support discussions about the NHS Copyright Licence.

LKS Leads may also carry out analysis of their own data for use in their own reports or for benchmarking purposes.

3.2 Recent forms and notices

The following documents have been issued:

Year of Return

Annual Return for completion by service manager


Changes, Guidance and Other Documents



Annual return part 1 - staffing (dated 22 March 2019)

Annual return part 2 - activity to be issued in June 2020

NHS Library Services 2019-20 changes


Annual return part 1 - staffing

Annual return part 2 - activity 

NHS Library Services 2018-19 changes

NHS Library Services 2018-19: form PDF only


Annual return part 1 - staffing

Annual return part 2 - activity

NHS Library Services 2017-18: form

Guidance from pt 2

Page Updated 23 April 2019