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This report details the review of HEFCE funding for research libraries. Its purpose is to determine the case for continued funding, and on what basis. The report concluded that funding should support only libraries meeting four criteria:

  • a unique collection or a critical mass of rare material
  • a significant and essential contribution to the national research base
  • associated costs beyond what the host HEI could be expected to bear
  • a track record of high quality services and facilities to external users.

It recommends that the Cambridge University Library, Oxford Bodleian, University of Manchester John Rylands, London School of Economics - British Library of Economic and Political Science, and School of Oriental and African Studies Library be designated as national research libraries (NRLs) and supported by a new funding stream, with some redistribution of funding between these.

The five NRLs would be entitled to long term supplementary funding in return for a specified and periodically assessed quality of provision and collaboration in national strategic programmes for collection development and services. No library not covered by the current special funding has shown a strong case to be brought within any future funding stream.