Academic and special libraries

Updated: 5 June 2023

Next update: 5 June 2024

Library loans
Library loans
1 321 285
Academic and special libraris. Main results. Numbers and per cent.
Academic and special libraris. Main results. Numbers and per cent.
20212022Percentage change
2021 - 2022
Loans at the libraries1 301 4981 321 2851.5
Library material (NOK 1000)651 069696 4457.0
Full-time equivalents, permanent employees December total1 6341 622-0.7
Formalized teaching participation111 347116 1194.3
Explanation of symbols

Selected tables and charts from this statistics

  • Collection statistics of a few selected groups of physical and digital resources
    Collection statistics of a few selected groups of physical and digital resources
    All academic and special librariesNational librariesUniversities with faculty and departemental libraryLibraries at scientific collegesLibraries at collegesSpecial libraries and libraries at health institutions
    Physical collection
    Books physical13 609 0763 265 6457 132 734549 736805 7171 855 244
    Periodicals - number of subscriptions, physical196 321120 88539 7883 9979 81921 832
    Yearbook, monographic serial, report serial and the like physical1 279 804605 654507 27129 29820 938116 643
    Graphic and cartographic material physical4 036 7073 984 94113 0501 04580636 865
    Digital collection
    Books digital11 302 343660 2466 327 9501 366 0872 591 435356 625
    Periodicals - number of subscriptions, digital1 137 5831 526498 723165 215283 505188 614
    Yearbooks, monographic serials, report serials and the like digital112 65479163 74813 89319 98114 241
    Manuscripts digital986 749961 528940..1124 270
    Graphic and cartographic material digital4 379 9444 326 5666 1632 1504 07440 991
    Musical score documents digital61 7886 23255 5301412..
    Explanation of symbols
  • Total number of loans from the Academic and special libraries
    Total number of loans from the Academic and special libraries1
    All academic and special libraries2 1 411 6731 015 7681 112 9611 115 120
    Universities with faculty and departemental library843 394559 050590 606599 262
    Libraries at scientific colleges136 74986 46386 94994 759
    Libraries at colleges318 969202 645230 868243 409
    Special libraries and libraries at health institutions112 561167 610204 538177 690
    1The number of physical loans is the sum of inital loan registration to primary users and others, including interlibrary loans.
    2Academic and special librarys, without the National Libraries
    Explanation of symbols
  • Figure 1. Number of academic and spesial libraries

About the statistics

Statistics on academic and special libraries at Norwegian universities and university colleges, public and private special libraries at research institutes and the National Library. These libraries are designed to provide services to students, teachers, researchers and those at the institution of which the library is part. The statistics show a summary of the activity during the year.

Non-local loans

Loans from one library to another or loans to private persons/institutions


They are divided in following groups:

- Reference databases; a collection of bibliographic references in a database

- Full text databases; a collection of original texts

- Other databases are for example surveys/catalogues, dictionaries, e.t.c.

Based on international standard ISO 2789 (Information and documentation - International library statistics)

Name: Academic and special libraries
Topic: Culture and recreation

5 June 2024

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

The figures are given on national and county level.



Collected and revised data are stored securely by Statistics Norway in compliance with applicable legislation on data processing.

Statistics Norway can grant access to the source data (de-identified or anonymised microdata) on which the statistics are based, for researchers and public authorities for the purposes of preparing statistical results and analyses. Access can be granted upon application and subject to conditions. Refer to the details about this at Access to data from Statistics Norway

The purpose is to show statistics from activities executed during the year by the special and research libraries. The statistics intend to give useful information to central and local authorities and others that in some way or other are involved in the running or financing of a library. The library statistics has been published once a year since 1980 in co-operation with the National Office for Research and Special Libraries and The Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority. From the publication year 2011 in co-operation with the National Library.

Users of the statistics are: Ministry of Culture and Equality, Ministry of Education and Research, the library sector, and individuals interested in various documents related to information, research, education and recreation.

No external users have access to statistics before they are released at 8 a.m. on after at least three months’ advance notice in the release calendar. This is one of the most important principles in Statistics Norway for ensuring the equal treatment of users.

Not relevant

The statistics are developed, produced and disseminated pursuant to Act no. 32 of 21 June 2019 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway (the Statistics Act).

Not relevant

The statistics cover special and research libraries in universities and state colleges, in public and private special libraries and the National Library. The National Library updates a list including all the libraries. The statistics include figures of collections, increase and decrease of books and periodicals, printed and electronic. In addition figures are given on expenditure and persons employed.

Sources are the libraries themselves. However, the statistics are prepared in order to make it available through professional library systems.

The survey intends to cover the whole library field. The National Library is the owner of the data and compiles statistics of their own.

Questionnaires are dispatched and collected by the National Library. They are also responsible for reminding and for updating of the population. A great part of the libraries deliver their data electronically, by filling in the questionnaires which they can find on an Internet website. Statistics Norway receives a prepared data file from the National Library based on collected data. This file forms the basis of the official statistics.

Editing is defined here as checking, examining and amending data. Logical addition and coherence is checked. Besides, a comparison with the questionnaires from previous year is made in order to uncover great deviations.

Not relevant


Loans excludes renewals from 2012 and onwards.

Some libraries do not answer all questions. The reason might be that they do not have data to report, wrong interpretation of some questions, or respondents might also unconsciously have given erroneous data, influencing the statistics.

Although the response rate is nearly 100 per cent, dropouts would cause small errors comparing with years before.

A revision is a planned change to figures that have already been published, for example when releasing final figures as a follow-up to published preliminary figures. See also Statistics Norway’s principles for revisions.