Public libraries statistics

Key facts

  • There are currently 3, 850 libraries (Including 285 mobile libraries) in Great Britain
  • 250 million visits are made to public libraries in Great Britain each year
  • There are 8.4 million active borrowers using public libraries in Great Britain
  • There are 17,063 FTE staff working in GB libraries 


    The key statistical source for public Libraries in Great Britain is CIPFA Public library statistics. This survey is published once a year in December. The most recent set of statistics CIPFA Public Library Statistics 2015-16 Actuals  & 2016-17 Estimates, December 2016

Other CIPFA statistical series:

CIPFA Plus (Public Library User Survey)

CIPFA Young People's Survey


CIPFA Library profiles [England]

Key statistics for public libraries in England are published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Taking part statistical release series.

The taking part survey collects data on aspects of leisure, culture and sport in England, as well as an in-depth range of socio-demographic information on users. There is a discrete section on public libraries. There are four statistical releases each year. The first quarter is published in October, the second quarter in December, the third quarter in March and the fourth quarter in June. There is also an annual child report published in July.

For more information on statistics for the public library sector and other data sets see our

Key statistical sources for the library and information sector