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AIB‐ISTAT statistics: the first time for Italian public libraries

Elena Boretti (Biblioteca Sala Borsa, Bologna, Italy)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 1 April 2005




Aim of the paper is to report on the first Italian national library statistics.


No national library statistics existed in Italy. In Italy there is no national law governing public library services and no national authority for them. The Official Publications Working Group of the Italian Library Association, in collaboration with the Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries and the Italian National Statistics Institute (ISTAT), carried out a survey, financed by the University of Perugia, to collect information about the presence of official publications in Italian public libraries. A high percentage of answers was collected. The few questions, useful for the identification of the main peculiarities of the answering libraries, were able to supply for the first time some national data about Italian public libraries.


The paper presents aims and objectives of the survey, methodology, the unexpected success. ISTAT methodological office stated that the responding libraries constituted a valid sample of Italian public libraries and the results of the survey could be considered the first Italian national library statistics. Results, limits, impact and some prospectives for the future are presented.

Research limitations/implications

The first official national statistics about Italian public libraries are an unexpected success.

Practical implications

It has proved however that we need wider agreements among institutions and funds, to have regular national library statistics.


Thanks to this survey, for the first time we can speak about Italian public libraries in terms of numbers.



Boretti, E. (2005), "AIB‐ISTAT statistics: the first time for Italian public libraries", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 32-38.



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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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