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Annual report 2020-21

Text version

We celebrate the acheivements, successes and challenges of the 2020-21 academic year with key data and customer feedback, in a new “report-o-graphic” format. This is the text-only version of the infographic.

Serving customers first

Quotes from customers

Her kindness made me feel connected to the university again, which after having been unable to attend for so long during Covid-19, meant a lot to me.

You have made the process of continuing to use the library smooth, enjoyable and stress-free.

you are literally keeping our studies alive! much appreciated.

319,293 Covid-safe study space bookings for staff and students.

2,806 webchat enquiries (96% increase on 2019-20).

17,444 responses to email enquiries (74% increase on 2019-20).


Customer service excellence: increase in “Compliance Plus” ratings from 6 to 8.

2nd RLUK and The National Archives Professional Fellowship awarded.

Longlisted for the inaugural Digital Culture Network Awards in the Being Social category.

New initiative

Everyone in the Library came together to create our Libraries Vision for 2030.

Developing students and researchers

Online teaching, consultations and enquiries supported students and staff with research and study in a year of remote working.

Research support

2,459 workshop attendees.

143 workshops delivered.

612 researcher enquirires answered.

Learning development

25,794 students received academic skills teaching.

7,207 student enquiries answered.

736 one-to-one academic skills consultations.

255 one-to-one maths and statistics consultations.

Dissertation conference

134 attendees.

The dissertation conference takes place annually to support finalists and taught postgraduates with their final research projects.

It allowed me to learn more about my dissertation and its process. It inspired me to get working harder on it.


Providing access to materials

With our click-and-collect service, physical collections were once again available to borrow, along with intensively used online books and articles. Self-issue returned in July 2021.

Physical items borrowed: 70,509

Ebook downloads: 1,680,294

Ejournal downloads: 6,271,139

Online course readings available for students: 10,932

Documents supplied to five continents: 1,652

Supporting researchers remotely with Special Collections

What a treat in a year where I have not been able to travel to the UK to continue my research! You are so kind for gathering and sending this information.

Customer quote

Virtual consultations: 80

Access images created: over 50,000

Brotherton stock reorganisation

A multi-team 20-week project to simplify the arrangement of journals and books. All of our stock remained available for users, mostly supplied within 24 hours of a request.


  • Easier to browse and find items
  • Organised in line with other campus libraries
  • Better user experience
  • Space for growing collections
  • Better use of mobile and fixed shelving.

Number of items moved: 300,000 (equal to 8.5 kilometres of shelves)

Items relabelled: 86,000

Number of shelves moved to consistent heights: 7,000

Number of shelved cleaned: 9,000

Enabling publishing for research impact

Our research support teams help staff and postgraduate researchers with open access, research data management, literature searching and increasing citations: online, in person and through workshops and events.

Open for lunch

Researchers and research support professionals informally share their experiences at open research lunches, exploring the culture and practice of open research. Events are open to all, including colleagues from other universities.

  • 700 registrations for nine open research lunches
  • 120 attendees at the most popular event
  • 60 attendees on average at each event

Research in numbers

120 datasets deposited in Research Data Leeds.

6,399 research outputs checked for REF 2021.

3,998 research outputs submitted to the REF 2021.

We allocated our 1000th dataset DOI: allocating DOIs (digital object identifiers) to research data means that researchers can refer to data sources in their publications, conference presentations and theses.

We awarded three Early Career Publishing Prizes to support Leeds postdocs develop their thesis into open access ebooks with White Rose University Press.

The University of Leeds is committed to Open Research, ensuring that our work can reach all those who can benefit from it. I am delighted that we can both recognise the outstanding work from these talented early career researchers and support its open dissemination.

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research

Cultural engagement with our galleries

Our Galleries used creative and innovative ways of bringing our collections to new digital audiences and communities.

Online Galleries events

Galleries events were attended by people from across the world, giving our collections a global audience.

Google Arts and Culture exhibitions were viewed 10,926 times between January and November 2021.

18,935 online jigsaws completed since May 2020.

4,211 books and manuscripts consulted.

178 engagement events (up by 44%).

Doing events like this online … is much appreciated by someone living in a small town in America

Customer quote

TikTok Time for some fun with the galleries

TikToks are short videos (15-60s) created by and for young audiences. The Galleries’ TikTok took off in lockdown, with a fast-growing audience enjoying playful interactions with collections and in gallery spaces.

Our viral TikTok video “have you ever worked in a museum?” achieved 216,900 views with a total watch time of 779 hours, the equivalent of watching all the Marvel Universe movies 15.5 times.