Library sample

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PLR figures are based on loans data collected from a minimum of 30 regional library authorities covering around 1,000 individual branches.

Our library sample

PLR figures are based on loans data collected from a sample of UK public libraries 1 July – 30 June every year. A grossing-up calculation is applied at the end of the PLR reporting year in order to provide a national estimate.

Sample size

The sample size is a minimum of 30 regional library authorities covering around 1,000 individual branches. At least seven of the sample authorities change every year in order to give fair regional representation.

Eligible libraries

PLR is limited to loans from public libraries operating as part of the statutory library service provided by local authorities under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act. Loans from university, college, school, volunteer-run and community libraries do not qualify.

UK PLR library sample 2022/2023

The following authorities are participating in the UK PLR sample for 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023.

Region   Authorities
 East  Peterborough, Suffolk
 East Midlands  Leicester City, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire
 London  Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Harrow, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) 
 North East  Newcastle, Northumberland, Stockton-on-Tees
 North West & Merseyside     Bury, St Helens, Wirral
 South East  Bracknell Forest, Medway, Oxfordshire, Southampton, West Sussex 
 South West  Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Isle of Wight, Wiltshire
 West Midlands  Dudley, Shropshire, Wolverhampton
 Yorkshire & The Humber  Calderdale, Kingston Upon Hull, Leeds, North Lincolnshire
 Northern Ireland  The Northern Ireland Library Authority
 Scotland  Glasgow, Highland, Stirling
 Wales  Bridgend, Carmarthenshire, Newport, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Swansea

The forthcoming sample for 1 July 2023 - 30 June 2024 can be viewed here

Previous samples are available within the library sample archive.

What does being a sample library involve?

To ensure fairness and accuracy of the sample, at least seven of the library authorities are replaced every year and libraries cannot stay in the sample for more than four years. We consult with authorities prior to designating sample libraries and at least six months formal notice of participation is given.

If designated, an authority must provide the requested data – but we will only designate authorities with a suitable catalogue and library management system (LMS). If an authority is changing its LMS supplier around the time that test data is due, or when live data collection is about to start, we may select another authority and postpone their involvement.

Operational costs incurred by a library authority in the collection of this data are reimbursed by the PLR office. Some authorities decide not to charge for operational costs as the effort involved is minimal. 

How to get sample libraries to stock your book

The PLR office does not have any influence over the books which libraries stock. Each library operates their own policy, and stock is either ordered from catalogues or by their chosen book supplier.