CILIP* recommends 10-13 quality library books for every pupil
This excludes textbooks, structured readers and class sets.
  • Smaller schools need proportionately more items per pupil, so schools with fewer than 100 pupils should aim for a minimum base figure of 1300 quality library books.
  • Books wear out or become outdated and the average life expectancy of a book is 10 years (for some it is a lot less!) so schools should work on 10% replacement per annum, but not necessarily like for like.
  • The annual library budget should cover at least the cost of replacing 10% of library stock, with additional funding made available to bring resources up to a suitable level.

Some calculations useful for benchmarking

  • To calculate your library stock per pupil, divide the number of library books by the number of pupils.
    • Does your library stock meet the CILIP benchmark of between 10 and 13 books per pupil?
    • Is the range balanced and appropriate for the needs of the pupils?
  • To calculate the stock renewal rate, divide the total library stock by the number of library books purchased last year + the number of books exchanged via SLS last year.
    • Effective use of the School Library Service exchange might assist your school to meet the 10% stock renewal recommendation of this service is offered locally.
  •   To calculate the minimum bookfund needed to replace stock: divide the total stock by 10 and multiply by £10 (average cost of library books for primary age children)   
These figures can only be rough estimates and guides  Talk to your  School Library Service  for more information.
  • Factor in the costs of subscribing to a School Library Service


*CILIP is the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals