The value of libraries for research and researchers

This jointly commissioned RIN and RLUK report presents the findings of a systematic study of the value of the services that libraries in the UK provide to researchers, and of the contributions that libraries from a wide range of institutions make to institutional research performance. The aim was to identify the key characteristics of library provision to support research in successful UK universities and departments.

Libraries are changing and the value they provide will change too. This project has provided a snapshot of libraries based on current evidence, as the sector begins a period of turbulent change. The need to demonstrate value will endure should not be underestimated. Arguing the case for libraries may get harder as the traditional role of libraries in providing access to content – the role most frequently mentioned and valued by researchers and senior managers – continues to become less visible.

The findings are summarised in the form of map which sets out the key characteristics and behaviours of libraries, and the links between them and the performance of individual researchers and institutions. Libraries have changed and are changing, developing new roles and services. The detailed findings are presented in the form of ten stories, about the different kinds of value that libraries provide in supporting both individual researchers and the research performance of their host institutions.

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