National Library Week in Turkey: Eight university libraries have fewer books than students

Private universities hold an average of 8.54 books per student, compared to 6.10 in state universities, while some universities have less than one book per student, according to figures from Turkey’s Higher Education Council.

Duvar English

As Turkey celebrates National Library Week between March 25 and March 31, a report by the daily Milliyet on March 27 reveals stark discrepancies in book numbers among university libraries.

Eight universities lack a single book per student in 2023, figures from Turkey’s Higher Education Council (YÖK) indicate. However, the specific institutions with fewer books than students are not disclosed.

The average number of printed books per student stands at 6.98, with 33 universities providing ten or more books per student. Eight universities offer more than 20 books each.

Private universities boast a higher average of 8.54 books per student, compared to 6.10 in state universities.

Istanbul 29 Mayıs University spearheads in book numbers, averaging 45.58 books per student.

The university library houses around 116,000 printed volumes and 210,000 e-books.

Bilkent University follows closely with 42.25 books per student, while Galatasaray University secures third place with 37.25 books per student.

According to the most recent PISA survey, Turkey’s students continue to struggle with reading proficiency, ranking the country 30 among 81 OECD countries.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s universities have experienced a decline in international rankings in recent years.

Top public institutions such as the Middle East Technical University (METU) dropped from 85th place in 2015 to the 351-400 band in the 2024 Times Higher Education list.

Similarly, Boğaziçi University, facing heavy government interference in recent years, plummeted from 139th in 2015 to approximately 601-800 band in 2024.

(English version by Wouter Massink)