Frequently Asked Questions

Statistics appears to be one of those topics that brings up a lot of questions, we have attempted to answer some expected questions here. If you have a question that is not covered below please contact Sam Burgess ( and we will try and find an answer for you and will update the FAQs as necessary.

Basic FAQs and answers:

Where can I get the blank form for returning NATIONAL statistics?
The return is available from the LKS wiki:

Who or where do I need to submit it to?
Your regional HEE LKS advisors may offer different routes.  Please see advice from your regional HEE LKS advisors.

Where are your case studies?
Please see the statistics case studies here – they will uploaded when available.

Can I submit a case study?
Yes you can, and you are encouraged to do so via the metrics case study form – please complete the online form.

Advanced FAQs and answers:

Why do we collect certain statistics? (Or how are the statistics used nationally?)
Nationally statistics are used for various reasons:

Staffing data

  1. To answer questions from HEE around workforce numbers, staff qualifications as the ESR does not provide granularity e.g. distinguishing between Library Assistant and Senior Library Assistant
  2. To help managers make business cases by being able to provide comparative data e.g. number and bands of library assistants
  3.  To check the profile of the LKS workforce – are we seeing fewer or more para-professional posts?
  4. To advise on how many training places are needed for Knowledge for Healthcare priorities
  5. To identify who should be attending Leadership training

Activity and financial data

  1. Inform development of national Knowledge for Healthcare strategy
  2. Inform national procurement of e-resources
  3. Support negotiations of CLA licence i.e. interlibrary loan activity
  4. Help build model for possible future funding of NHS provided library and knowledge services
  5. Identify which organisations do not receive a LKS
  6. Trends in inter-library loan activity
  7. Measuring efficiencies through CAS collaboration
  8. Monitoring trends in user education
  9. Monitoring changes in income streams

How can I get training on EXCEL ?
Your IT department (or education department) should be your first port of call.  There may be some online courses available or courses held at your local college.

Can I get training on statistics?
This is a very large topic and we cannot be descriptive on them all – if you have identified a development need then you are best placed to seek out training/support.  However, there may be useful courses online that can support e.g. via edX

Please do contact your regional/local CPD leads for advice and support.

We may be able to offer contacts from our list of Champions – please contact if this would be useful.

Can I get any support on my statistics?
We have a list of statistics Champions – we may be able to put you in touch with someone who can advise – please contact if this would be useful.

How can I present my statistics appropriately?
There are many ways of presenting your statistics.  See our page on infographics.

How can I use statistics to justify/improve statistics?
Please see our case studies for examples.

Can I use benchmarking?
Benchmarking should be used with caution as it is not easy to apply across the NHS LKS, but that is not to say that it cannot be used sensitively.  You should seek advice before proceeding.

How can I find out about the bigger picture?
You can find more detail on the KfH blog, i.e. What does up, comes down, and stays roughly the same?

Some of the earlier published reports on NHS library statistics are at: 

Where can I find out more about metrics?
The metrics toolkit has been adapted for the statistics toolkit, but if you’d like to find out more go here –

Where can I find other useful statistics?
NHS Digital is a useful place!

What statistics tools are available to me?
There are various tools available e.g. SPSS or SeekTable, but we cannot make recommendations as to which may be suitable for your  needs.  However you may find this website handy –

How can I use my LMS to extract data for statistics?
Please contact your LMS provider for support with this.

How can I use my online resources to extract data?
Please contact your provider with support with this (e.g. Wiley, Ebsco, etc)

How do I figure out cost per access usage figures?
This will vary depending on how  your numbers are collected, i.e. some online providers provider per-book download statistics, others only provide per-chapter statistics which can make it difficult to ensure standardisation.

We are awaiting the results of a particular project on this and are hoping to link to it here.

Who should be involved in collecting or analysing statistics?
We encourage all staff at all levels to be involved with statistics – whether in collecting or analysing.  Certainly we all have a responsibility to ensure that statistics are consistent.  If you have an idea, please do raise it with your  manager.

How can I create an infographic?
Please see our pages on infographics.

Is there a Dashboard?
There is no national dashboard at present, but the dashboard page shows examples of dashboards that other Trust have used and are willing to share.

What is the recommended  minimum to collect?
Outside of the national statistics return we do not recommend a particular minimum as we do not wish to be prescriptive.  However we do have a supplementary dataset that we suggest for collection – by no means exhaustive.

Where is the NHS Costing Framework?
The costing framework is available below (password required)

How do I measure ROI (return on investment)?
There are some papers that may prove useful on the KfH blog.

What can I do with the information once I have it?
This very much depends on what information you have collected, why you’ve collected it and who you are presenting it to.  Please refer to other sections of the statistics toolkit for ideas.