This site attempts to protect users against Cross-Site Request Forgeries attacks. In order to do so, you must have JavaScript enabled in your web browser otherwise this site will fail to work correctly for you. See details of your web browser for how to enable JavaScript. Skip to Main Content Library - University of Liverpool
Toggle mobile navigation

About Libraries, Museums and Galleries: Annual Report

Libraries, Museums and Galleries Annual Report 2022-2023


This is the first annual report for Libraries, Museums & Galleries at the University of Liverpool. The alternative format Annual Report 2022-2023 PDF provides a visual overview of our work during 2022-2023.

We are proud of our achievements over the last 12 months. Our services, collections, and spaces have supported and inspired our users. We’ve strengthened our existing partnerships whilst developing new ones, and we’ve invested in our collections, digital infrastructure, and buildings.  

The report is both a record of our work and an invitation to you: our users, partners, and communities, to continue to work with us as we enable, embody, and amplify the ambitions of the University’s strategy, Liverpool 2031.  

For further information about our activities, follow us on social media: @LivUniLibrary and @VictoriaGallery on Instagram.

Dr Matt Greenhall, Director of Libraries, Museums and Galleries 

Education and Student Experience

Libraries, Museums and Galleries are central to the student experience. With over 1.3m student visits to our libraries in the academic year 2022-23, our services, collections and spaces are here to inform, support and inspire.

We support our students to become employable, creative and culturally rich graduates. That’s why we’re ranked third in the Russell Group in the National Student Survey, after 92% of respondents answered positively to: ‘How well have the library resources / online services supported your learning?’

We recently opened our first Sensory Study room (in partnership with the School of Law and Social Justice) in the Sydney Jones Library and the installation of hybrid work areas across both campus libraries.

We provide almost 3,000 study spaces in our buildings, and with ‘Library on Tour’ we expand across campus for peak periods.

18 zoom pods to support online learning, will be in place for the 23/24 academic year.

98.4% of students agreed that they had more confidence in using library and information resources for their studies after sessions with Learning Development & Academic Liaison and Special Collections & Archives. 

The use of our collection is changing... For every 1 physical book loan, 11 ebooks are accessed.

Our OverDrive Leisure Reading Collection contains over 23,000 eBooks and audiobooks that students and staff can borrow for free. Topics include Wellbeing, LGBTQ+, Sustainability and Neurodiversity Awareness. Usage is currently around 4500 book checkouts per year (and growing).

97.7% of our students would recommend our Writing@Liverpool near-peer approach to developing academic writing skills and confidence  “Really useful... bespoke information and guidance... really friendly and accessible”.

Over 27,000 students accessed our KnowHow: Study for Success course online.

If we don’t have it, we’ll get it for you. 16,928 requests for content were fulfilled via our ‘Get It For Me’ acquisitions and inter-library loan service. 

Our Learning Development & Academic Liaison team provided over 13,000 hours of information and digital literacy skills training.

Student Partners, who will form the LMG Student Team, will be providing key support on a range of exciting projects across the Service. The high-quality paid employment roles will commence in September 2023 and offer valuable work experience, training and development to current UoL students.

In Summer 2023 the Sydney Jones Library Brett Gardens opened, offering 65 outdoor study spaces within a carefully planted and designed garden.

Global Engagement

Our collections are truly global, spanning the world and highlighting our place within it. We are part of an international collective collection, which brings both opportunities and responsibilities.

We are working with our partners and stakeholders to better understand, document and present the difficult histories associated with some of our collections. We are funding a PhD student and Research Assistant in the Centre for the Study of International Slavery to work on our heritage collections in partnership with the diverse communities we serve.

Our Special Collections & Archives exhibition on the naturalist and former enslaved man John Edmonstone - in partnership with National Museums Liverpool and University of Liverpool zoologist Dr Carl Larsen - was part of our commitment to showcase hidden histories and represent diversity. Student feedback included:

It makes me feel represented. I feel more positive and confident seeing this.

I found it very moving...I think it’s great that my university is doing this. Thank you.

The Victoria Gallery & Museum continued its partnership with the Liverpool Biennial festival of contemporary art by hosting the work of international artists as part of their programme curated by South African Khanyisile Mbongwa. As part of the Biennial, we exhibited “Gender Scrambling”, work by groundbreaking US LGBTQ+ artist Linda Stein, a pioneer in confronting and exploring feminism and gender identity.

We have contributed to the University’s key international partnerships, with Sumy State University (Ukraine), the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome partnership and the University of Georgia (Athens).

Place and Innovation

Our museums and galleries offer a welcoming window into the University for members of local communities, our neighbours, and stakeholders. Over the last year we have worked to diversify our exhibition content, working with artists and creative practitioners, locally and globally, to create engaging and relevant exhibitions to some of the key social and cultural issues facing societies.

The Victoria Gallery & Museum was a lead partner in The World Reimagined project highlighting British Black history and achievements across the nation, displaying three globes thematically decorated by local schools. We loaned artworks to exhibitions at the Atkinson, Southport, and National Museums Liverpool’s Lady Lever Gallery - with over 103k people visiting the shows.

We have invested heavily in our estate, with improvements to the external fabric of the buildings and new accessibility rooms in both the Sydney Jones and Harold Cohen Libraries. 

Two of our stunning medieval manuscripts were displayed at the Walker Art Gallery in their blockbuster exhibition in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery – Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics.

Liverpool photographer Ean Flanders exhibited over 50 portraits of inspirational Liverpool residents who share his African-Caribbean heritage at the Victoria Gallery & Museum. A local visitor wrote “Fabulous idea for an exhibition and very much needed. Great to see the Black community being represented and highlighting the fact that much more representation is needed”.

Our @LivUniLibrary Instagram saw a 42.7% annual growth (7,032 to 10,036 followers) and our @VictoriaGallery saw a 38.9% growth (3,010 to 4,182).

Research and Impact

We have led, partnered in and supported ambitious external funding applications across 2022-3, raising our visibility and capacity as research partners. As research infrastructure, Libraries, Museums and Galleries support the academic community to undertake world-leading research through our collections, services, and spaces. 

Our services made over 900 articles available on a Gold Open Access basis, enhancing the visibility and reach of Liverpool’s research outputs.

We have invested funds to develop a state-of-the-art digitisation studio in the Sydney Jones Library and software capabilities to preserve and share content. Already over 6000 plate glass negatives from the Garstang Museum of Archaeology have been digitised, providing new insights and enabling digital scholarship. A new openly accessible digital platform, with further digitised content from our heritage collections, is planned for 23/24.

In March, we launched the University’s Research Publications and Copyright Policy, which simplifies the publication process for our researchers and helps them share their outputs on a wider, open-access basis.

Libraries, Museums and Galleries are home to around:

  • 2 million books
  • 1 million e-resources
  • 5,000 works of art
  • 75,000 museum objects
  • 2 linear miles of archives & special collections
  • 80,000 vinyl records