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Recommendation concerning the International Standardization of Library Statistics

13 November 1970

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The General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, at its sixteenth session, held in Paris from 12 October to 14 November 1970,

Considering that, by virtue of Article IV, paragraph 4 of the Constitution, it is for the Organization to draw up and adopt instruments for the international regulation of questions falling within its competence,

Considering that Article VIII of the Constitution provides that `each Member State shall report periodically to the Organization, in a manner to be determined by the General Conference, on its laws, regulations and statistics relating to educational, scientific and cultural life and institutions, and on the action taken upon the recommendations and conventions referred to in Article IV, paragraph 4'.

Convinced that library statistics provide essential information on the influence of each type of library and thus facilitate the planning of library development,

Convinced that it is highly desirable for the national authorities responsible for collecting and communicating library statistics to be guided by certain standards in the matter of definitions, classifications and presentation, in order to improve the international comparability of such statistics,

Having before it, as item 20 of the agenda of the session, proposals concerning the international standardization of library statistics,

Having decided at its fifteenth session that these proposals should be incorporated in an international instrument, to take the form of a recommendation to Member States,

Adopts the present recommendation this thirteenth day of November 1970:

The General Conference recommends, with a view to the compilation of inter-national statistics, that Member States apply the following provisions concerning definitions, classifications and presentation of library statistics, by adopting measures, in the form of a national law or otherwise, to give effect, within the territories under their jurisdiction, to the standards and principles formulated in the present recommendation.

The General Conference recommends that Member States bring the present recommendation to the attention of authorities and services responsible for collecting and communicating library statistics.

The General Conference recommends that Member States forward to it, by the dates and in the form which it shall prescribe, reports concerning action taken by them upon the present recommendation.

I. Scope and definitions


1. The statistics referred to in the present recommendation should cover libraries, as defined in paragraph 2(a) below, located in a particular country.


2. In compiling the statistics referred to in the present recommendation, the following definitions should be used:

(a) Library: irrespective of its title, any organized collection of printed books and periodicals or of any other graphic or audio-visual materials, and the services of a staff to provide and facilitate the use of such materials as are required to meet the informational, research, educational or recreational needs of its users.

(b) (i) Administrative unit: any independent library, or a group of libraries, under a single director or a single administration.
(ii) Service point: any library at which is provided in separate quarters a service for users, whether it is an independent library or is part of a larger administrative unit. Independent libraries, central libraries and branch libraries (both static-and mobile-library vans, ship libraries, train libraries) are considered as service points provided that they serve their users directly. The points at which library vans stop are not counted as service points.

(c) Collection: all library materials provided by the library for its users.

(d) Annual additions: all materials added to collections during the year
whether by purchase, donation, exchange or any other method.

(e) The term printed covers all methods of reproduction whatever their nature, with the exception of microprinting.

(f) Periodicals: publications constituting one issue in a continuous series under the same title published at regular or irregular intervals, over an indefinite period, individual issues in the series being numbered consecutively or each issue being dated. Newspapers as well as publications appearing annually or less frequently are included in the definition.

(g) Title: a term used to describe a printed item which forms a separate whole, whether issued in one or several volumes.

(h) Volume: a physical unit of any printed or manuscript work contained in one binding or portfolio.

(i) Library user: a person utilizing the services of the library.

(j) Registered borrower: a person registered with a library in order to borrow the materials of the collection for use outside the library.

(k) Ordinary expenditure: expenditure incurred in the running of the library. Within this total the following only are shown separately:
(i) Employees: the total amount of money spent on salaries and wages, allowances-and other related costs;
(ii) Acquisitions: the cost of all items (printed, manuscript and audiovisual materials) added to the library.

(1) Capital expenditure: expenditure which results in the acquisition of or addition to fixed assets, e.g. building sites, new buildings and additions, equipment (including initial book stocks and furnishings for new and ex-tended buildings). Within this total the following are shown separately:
(i) Sites and buildings: expenditure for the acquisition of or addition to building sites, new buildings, and extensions;
(ii)Other capital expenditure.

(m)Trained librarians: all persons employed in libraries who have received a general training in librarianship or information science. The training may be by formal methods or by means of an extended period of work in a library under supervision.

II. Classification of libraries

3. Each of the libraries covered by the definition set out in paragraph 2(a) above should be classified in the following categories and sub-categories:

(a) National libraries: libraries which, irrespective of their title, are responsible for acquiring and conserving copies of all significant publications published in the country and functioning as a `deposit' library, either by law or under other arrangements. They will also normally perform some of the following functions: produce a national bibliography; hold and keep up to date a large and representative collection of foreign literature including books about the country; act as a national bibliographical information center; compile union catalogues; publish the retrospective national bibliography. Libraries which may be called `national' but whose functions do not correspond to the above definition should not be placed in the `national libraries' category.

(b) Libraries of institutions of higher education: those primarily serving students and teachers' in universities and other institutions of education at the third level. They may be open to the general public as well. A distinction should be made between:
(i) The main or central university library, or a group of libraries which may be located separately but having one and the same director.
(ii) Libraries attached to university institutes or departments but which are not under the direction of or administered by the main or central university library.
(iii) Libraries attached to institutions of higher education which are not part of a university.

(c) Other major non-specialized libraries: non-specialized libraries of a learned character which are neither libraries of institutions of higher education nor national libraries, though they may fulfill the functions of a national library for a specified geographical area.

(d) School libraries: those attached to all types of schools below the level of education at the third level and serving primarily the pupils and teachers of such schools, even- though they may also be open to the general public. Separate collections for the use of several classes in the same school should be regarded as a single library, which should be counted as an administrative unit and as a service point.

(e) Special libraries: those maintained by an association, government service, parliament, research institution (excluding university institutes), learned society, professional association, museum, business firm, industrial enterprise, chamber of commerce, etc. or other organized group, the greater part of their collections being in a specific field or subject, e.g. natural sciences, social sciences, agriculture, chemistry, medicine, economics, engineering, law, history. A distinction- should be made between:
(i) Libraries which provide materials and services to all members of the public who need them; and
(ii) Those libraries whose collections and services are for the most part designed to provide for the information needs of their primary users, even if in some cases they serve the information needs of specialists outside the group responsible for their maintenance.

(f) Public (or popular) libraries: those which serve the population of a community or region free of charge or for a nominal fee; they may serve the general public or special categories of users such as children, members of the armed forces, hospital patients, prisoners, workers, and employees. A distinction should be made between:
(i) Public libraries proper, i.e. those libraries receiving financial support, in whole or in large part, from the public authorities (municipal or regional libraries); and
(ii) Libraries financed from private sources.

4. Each library should appear in one only of the categories mentioned in paragraph 3, according to its primary function.

5. School and public libraries considered to be `administrative units' should, in addition, be classified in one of the following groups, according to the size of their collections. The size of collections should cover only printed materials and manuscripts:

(a) Public libraries
(i) Up to 2,000 volumes ;
(ii) From 2,001 to 5,000 volumes ;
(iii) From 5,001 to 10,000 volumes;
(iv) More than 10,000 volumes.

(b) School libraries:
(i) Up to 2,000 volumes;
(ii) From 2,001 to 5,000 volumes;
(iii) More than 5,000 volumes.

III. Reporting of statistical data

6. Statistics referred to in the present recommendation should be drawn up at regular intervals of three years. The information given should be presented in conformity with the provisions of paragraphs 2 to 5. Attention should be drawn to any differences between the definitions and classifications contained in this recommendation and those customarily used at the national level.

7. Library statistics should, unless otherwise stated, cover the following types of data. Data referring to a period should cover the year in question, and not the interval between two successive surveys.

(a) Number of libraries
(i) Administrative units;
(ii) Service points: Static, Mobile.

(b) Population served:
(i) By public libraries as defined in paragraph 3(f)(i), i.e. the total number of inhabitants in the districts served by public libraries;
(ii) By school libraries, i.e. the total number of pupils and teachers in primary and secondary schools provided with school library services;
(iii) By libraries in institutions of higher education, i.e. the total number of students, faculty and staff eligible to use the services of libraries in universities and other institutions of higher education at the third level.

(c) Collections: Information concerning library collections should cover only the following documents available to users and including an allowance for material •on loan:
(i) Books and periodicals by. meters of occupied shelves and volumes;
(ii) Manuscripts by meters of occupied shelves and volumes;
(iii)Microforms of books, periodicals and manuscripts:
(a) Microfilms by number of rolls;
(b) Other microforms by number of physical units.

(d) Additions: Statistics relating to additions to collections should cover the following materials only:
(i) Books by titles and volumes;
(iii) Manuscripts by number of units catalogued;
(iii) Microforms of books and manuscripts:
(a) Microfilms counted by number of rolls;
(b) Other microforms counted by number of physical units.

(e) Number of current periodical titles: i.e. number of titles received by the library during the year.

(f) Number of registered borrowers: only borrowers registered for the specified year should be counted. The number of registered borrowers should not be counted in the case of special libraries.

(g) Number of works loaned out and copies supplied in place of loans:
(i) Books, periodicals and manuscripts loaned, counted by number of volumes;
(ii) Copies produced to take the place of original materials, counted by number of volumes copied.

(h) Inter-library lending within the country: only loans between separate ad-ministrative units should be counted:
Items issued:
(i) Books, periodicals and manuscripts counted by the number of volumes;
(ii) Copies produced to take the place of original materials, counted by number of volumes copied.

(i) Inter-library lending at the international level:
(a) Items issued to other countries
(i) Books, periodicals and manuscripts, counted by the number of volumes;
(ii) Copies produced to take the place of original materials, counted by the number of volumes copied.
(b) Items received from other countries
(i) Books, periodicals and manuscripts counted by the number of volumes ;
(ii) Copies received in place of original materials counted by number of volumes copied.

(j) Photo and other copies: Copies produced by libraries for their users (excluding those made by coin-operated copying machines installed on library premises), and those designed to take the place of original materials in inter-library lending should be counted as follows:
(i) Paper copies by number of sheets;
(ii) Microfilms by number of frames;
(iii) Microfiches individually.

(k) Ordinary expenditure
(i) Total;
(ii) Employees;
(ii) Acquisitions.

(1) Capital expenditure
(i) Total;
(ii) Building sites and buildings;
(iii) Other.

(m) Library employees
(i) Total number of employees:
Part-time, counted in full-time equivalents.
(ii) Trained librarians holding an official diploma in librarianship: Full-time;
Part-time, counted in full-time equivalents.
(iii) Trained librarians who have received their training in the form of an extended period of work in a library under supervision: Full-time;
Part-time, counted in full-time equivalents.

The foregoing is the authentic text of the recommendation duly adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization during its sixteenth session, which was held in Paris and declared closed the fourteenth day of November 1970.

IN FAITH WHEREOF we have appended our signatures this seventeenth day of November 1970.

The President of the General Conference
The Director-General


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