168 hours (in the Library)

Posted on March 14th, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp

Attached to this blog post is a chart displaying the weekly opening hours for the main campus library of 130 separate higher education institutions in the UK, during each library’s ‘peak’ period (i.e. the point in the year at which the library’s opening hours are most generous).

Each bar in the chart represents the total peak weekly opening hours for the main university library for each of the 130 institutions. I didn’t include branch or secondary campus libraries. Where a university has one or more ‘equal’ campus libraries, I chose the library with the longest opening hours.

I haven’t identified the institutions by name (except the University of Lincoln).

Click on the chart or here for a bigger view.

Chart of the peak weekly opening hours for 130 UK HE 'main' libraries

Some notes:

  • I took these figures from institutions’ own web pages. I’ve done my best to record the hours accurately for each institution, but sometimes they were difficult to find and/or not presented very clearly.
  • These are the peak hours for each library only; they may not be the standard term-time hours which in some cases are in operation for a longer period.
  • 30 institutions (23% of the total number) open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (168 hours/week) at peak times. However, the period of 24/7 opening varied greatly between institutions: from year-round 24/7, to just a couple of weeks of round-the-clock opening in one case.
  • I only counted opening hours where they applied to the whole library (including provision of access to book stock); some libraries have separate extended or 24/7 I.T. lab provision – I didn’t count that.
  • The University of Lincoln‘s peak opening hours of 146 hours/week puts it in 35th place, just behind the curve of institutions which offer periods of 24/7, and well above the mean of 115.0 hrs/wk.
  • Most of the libraries toward the bottom of the chart (approaching 60 hrs/wk) are smaller, specialist institutions where you might expect shorter opening hours. Others have relatively short library hours, but more extensive and separate I.T. provision.

The (anonymised) data is on Google Docs.

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2 Responses to “168 hours (in the Library)”

  1. Stuart Lewis says:

    This is a great data set. I’m curious what drove your decision to anonymise it?

  2. Hello Stuart,

    I hadn’t asked anyone’s permission to quote their opening hours (even though they’re all on the public web), and my gathering technique wasn’t exactly scientific (see all my caveats in the blog post) – so I didn’t feel confident in attributing a figure to any particular library (except my own). I was more interested in the general shape of the graph – the high and low points, the mean, etc.

    It would be nice to have all this data properly gathered and aggregated though – perhaps by SCONUL?


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