More visits in special and research libraries
Culture and recreation;Education;Svalbard
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Academic and special libraries2003



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More visits in special and research libraries

The number of registered visits to special and research libraries continues to increase. During 2003 the visits totaled just over six million. During the two last years the number of visits increased by about 20 per cent or one million.

For the first time the number of visitors is highest at the college libraries. Just above 50 per cent of all the registered visits were in these special libraries. Libraries at universities and scientific colleges had about 2.9 million visitors, and compared with the last year this number represent a decline of about 8 per cent.

The collections increase

The registered stock of books and periodicals has passed 19 million volumes, about 43 per cent of the physical units. This number represents a slight increase, almost 2 per cent compared with the previous year. The libraries at the universities and scientific colleges had still more than 50 per cent of the stock of books and periodicals, while the college libraries had almost 16 per cent. The national libraries had about 12 per cent of the registered stock. Public special libraries had just over 16 per cent, while private special libraries accounted for just below 4 per cent.

Volumes of books and periodicals in special and research libraries. 2003

The physical units also include about 156 000 manuscripts, about 1.6 million microfiches, 338 000 music notes, almost 4 million units of graphic and cartographic material and more than 19 million patents.

In addition to the physical units special and research libraries have extensive collections of digital documents, databases and current title series. The digital documents represented about 11 million documents at the end of 2003. This number of registered digital documents represents an increase of about 30 per cent from the previous year.

336 libraries reported figures for 2003. Even though this is fewer than 2002, the total registered collection has increased slightly compared with the previous year. The data collecting systems have, however, changed and the statistics are therefore not directly comparable with figures from previous years.

Use of the libraries

Though the registered visits in the to special and research libraries still increase the number of loans are stable. Just over 4 million loans were made in 2003. Of these almost 408 000 were non-local loans, while over 3.6 million were local ones. The local loans increased by about 7 per cent. This increase is mainly due to change of the definition of local loans. From 2003 also loans to single persons and institutions are included in the term local loans (according to ISO 2789). Non-local loans are loans between library systems under different administrative units.

In addition to loans and lending the use of electronic information resources are registered. In 2003 there were registered 17 million seeks in the libraries own catalogue or other databases.

Average number of days available to users per year was 220 days, and average weekly opening hours in a normal week were 45 hours. Professional staff was present 79 per cent of this time.


Library expenditures totaled NOK 1.1 billion in 2003. Just about 27 per cent were used for acquisitions. Libraries at the universities and scientific colleges accounted for more than 60 per cent of the amount spent on acquisitions.

Just over 1 600 employees were registered at the end of 2003 at the 336 library units covered by the statistics. Almost 60 per cent of the staff held professional positions. In total, the employees worked about 1 5801 man-years, with professional staff accounting for 611 per cent.

The statistics for special and research libraries have been compiled by Statistics Norway and were collected in cooperation with the Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority.

1  The figures are corrected 4 June 2004.