The purpose of this paper is to present a personal story about the use of statistics to help protect library services at the Library of the Department of Statistics at Bologna University.
This paper describes the statistics used uncritically by the Centralized Library Services of the University, their inadequacy, and greater utility of the data gathered by the Statistics Library together with those of the University of Ferrara.
The data gathered by the Statistics Library and those of the University of Ferrara provided a richer and more valid image of their services and their value to the user community, than the limited, somewhat old‐fashioned and simplistic metrics of the Centralized Library Services.
This successful approach helped change the mind of senior library management at a time of retrenchment. It is hoped that it will inspire others to challenge simplistic snapshots of services and strengthen their cases with more representative data.