Value of Public Libraries

Bibliography – Return on Investment and Value of Libraries

April 2013

Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study

http://www.ala.org/research/plftas/2011_2012

January 2013

The Library Dividend: a guide to the socio-economic value of Queensland’s public libraries

State Library of Queensland September 2012

 

Australian Content

The Library Board of Queensland commissioned this study in 2011 to demonstrate the value of public libraries in our state.  The fact that almost five out of every 10 Queenslanders are members of a public library speaks volumes about their value to individuals, families and communities.

 

Full Text: The Library Dividend Technical Report

 

 

 

Libraries and Economic Value: a review of recent studies

Roxanne Missingham,Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 142-158.

 

Abstract

Australian Content

This paper outlines the development of research into the value of libraries over the past decade. Recent studies using contingent valuation for the British Library, South Carolina Public Libraries, Florida Public Libraries and St. Louis Public Libraries are summarised both in terms of methodology and findings. Studies into two national bibliographic services ( Canada and New Zealand) are reviewed to demonstrate the application of value studies to specific services. Discussion of the contingent valuation studies focuses on comparing the results and to determine how the results could be interpreted to understand whether the libraries provided a positive return on investment. Consideration is then given to alternative uses of the contingent valuation and potential areas for further research such as analysis of the optimum return on investment for libraries by sector or service.

 

Full Text: HTML

 

 

 

 
Sustaining communities: measuring the value of public libraries a review of research approaches

Jennifer Berryman, State Library of NSW for the Public Library Network Research Committee

 

Abstract

Australian Content

The NSW Public Library Network Research Committee has initiated a large scale research project to explore and then measure the contributions made by NSW public libraries to the communities they serve. This report is the first stage in a multi-stage research project and has been prepared as context within which to consider the issues facing public libraries seeking to demonstrate their impact and value.

 

Full text http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/services/public_libraries/docs/sustainingcommunities.pdf

 

 

 

Enriching Communities: the value of public libraries in NSW

Report by J L Management Services

 

Abstract

Australian Content

In November 2008 the State Library of NSW released the report “Enriching Communities: the value of public libraries in NSW”. The report, based on a research project involving analysis of library data and a series of surveys, provides clear evidence of the contribution and value that NSW public libraries make to their communities in terms of economic, environmental, social and cultural impact.

 

Full Text http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/services/public_libraries/publications/docs/enriching_communities.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Value for money: best practice options for demonstrating return on Investment for libraries

Stephen Pugh Presented ALIA conference 2012

 

Abstract

Australian Content

The major trends in ROI for libraries is described and clarified. The implications of these trends are discussed. The result of the paper is a compendium of best practice methods comprising a toolkit that libraries may use in demonstrating value to stakeholders. The paper will confirm that demonstrating ROI or value for money is a growing trend that many libraries are ill-prepared to confront. The paper will conclude by showing libraries how

the best practice methods may be used selectively and in combination to produce, at minimum, an acceptable result for stakeholders such as funding bodies, administration, staff, users (patrons, students, researchers, academics) and the library’s wider community.

 

http://conferences.alia.org.au/alia2012/Papers/4_Stephen.Pugh.pdf

 

 

 

Dollars, Sense and Public Libraries

An independent report by SGS Economics and Planning for the State Library of Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria Network

 

Abstract

Australian Content

Dollars, Sense and Public Libraries is a major three-year project to assess the economic value of public libraries in Victoria. The Dollars, Sense and Public Libraries project

was initiated in 2007. It followed on from the Libraries Building Communities research

published in 2005, and this latest project had three aims: To expand the understanding of the value of public libraries in Victoria, To provide public library managers with the means to calculate their specific contribution to the communities they serve and to advocacy materials to build their case for library funding.

 

Full text http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/dollars-sense-public-libraries-summary-report_1.pdf

 

 

An old tool with potential new uses: return on investment

Larry Nash White, Library Science and Instructional Technology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

 

Abstract

New applications of the ROI assessment tool could provide library administrators with proactive means of increasing the effectiveness of library assessment, valuation, and their results. ROI investment has historically been used by libraries for the assessment of past performance of library organizations in a reactive/defensive nature or for assessing the value of customer services. ROI has not been widely used as a proactive assessment tool, to introspectively assess administrative or other internal services, or as an offensive assessment and valuation tool, especially for intangible performance assessment and valuation. New applications of the ROI assessment tool could provide library administrators with proactive means of increasing the effectiveness of library assessment, valuation, and their results.

 

Full text http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/08880450710747407

 

Libraries and return on investment (ROI): a meta-analysis

Svanhild Aabø, (2009) “Libraries and return on investment (ROI): a meta-analysis”, New Library World, Vol. 110 Iss: 7/8, pp.311 – 324

 

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to show that the need to communicate the value of libraries is growing, and especially now during the global financial crisis. As a response library valuation research is expanding and there is now a need for a status report. The library valuation field is developing towards generating a critical mass of empirical studies. The focus of the meta-analytical review is on the subgroup that reports a return on investment (ROI) or a cost-benefit ratio. Meta-analysis is a quantitative analysis of findings of previous studies, conducted to infer general findings and lessons from prior empirical research. The dataset is 38 library valuation studies reporting a return on investment figure or cost-benefit ratio.

This study appears to be the first meta-analytical review of library studies reporting a return on investment figure. The tentative conclusion is that for each dollar invested in public libraries they return, on average, approximately four times more. This is a strong message with policy implications.

 

Full text http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03074800910975142

 

 

The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, communicating the value of your libraries

Glen Holt, Holt Consulting, St Louis, Missouri, USA

 

Abstract

Draws from research conducted to set up a conservative transportable cost-benefit analysis (CBA) methodology that could be applied to public libraries. The paper discusses the CBA-survey participant comments draws out the value themes that interviewees talked about as they answered various questions. There is a huge tendency in North America to talk about libraries as if they are secular churches and to impute spiritual values to them. This paper suggests that while library users may hold such feelings, that is not the first line of reasons for why they use their library.

Full text http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/08880450710825833

 

 

 

Taxpayer Return on Investment in Florida Public Libraries: Summary Report, State Library and Archives of Florida,

Griffiths, J, King, D, Tomer, C, Lynch, T & Harrington, J, USA, 2004

 

Abstract

The measurement of return-on-investment (ROI) has been applied to many different types of organizations and community resources. While common in the for-profit sector, the application of benefit/cost, cost-effectiveness, impact and return-on-investment measures to libraries has lagged behind considerably. Part of the difficulty has been in quantifying benefits from non-priced goods and services that can differ from use to use, user to user, as well as from library to library (as their mix of service offerings vary). In today’s climate of strained budgets and pressures for increased accountability and transparency, the need for clear and accurate statements of how public monies are allocated and used, and the resulting benefits or outcomes, is paramount in ensuring continued investment.

This Summary Report describes a comprehensive study to assess taxpayer return-on-investment in Florida’s public libraries. The study used a variety of data collection and analysis methods including the public library annual data reports, and an input-output econometric model (REMI). Public libraries allow users to share knowledge and services at a cost to them as taxpayers and in the time they spend using the libraries; however, all taxpayers in Florida benefit from the public libraries through their considerable contribution to education, the economy, tourism, retirement, quality of life, and so on. There are many ways to determine how

public libraries contribute to the State’s economy and how taxpayers achieve a return on their investment.

 

http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/bld/roi/pdfs/ROISummaryReport.pdf

 

 

 

Making Cities Stronger: public library contributions to local economic development

Urban Libraries Council USA, 2007

 

Abstract

Public libraries are logical partners for local economic development initiatives that focus on people and quality of life. Libraries are widely available, highly regarded public institutions that provide a broad range of information services and support for diverse constituencies. Public access to digital information and technology is a draw for libraries. Their open structure, combined with the power of new digital collections and technology, position them to help communities make the transition from manufacturing and service economies to high tech and information economies.

 

Full text http://www.urbanlibraries.org/files/making_cities_stronger.pdf

 

 

 

What is the true value of a public library?

David McMenemy, (2007) Library Review, Vol. 56 Iss: 4, pp.273 – 277

 

Abstract

The paper offers an alternative viewpoint regarding the effectiveness of some of the mainstream evaluation methods used to justify the value of public libraries.

 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00242530710743471

 

 

Are public libraries worth their price?: A contingent valuation study of Norwegian public libraries

Svanhild Aabø

 

Abstract

The paper reports from a valuation study of the Norwegian public libraries, aiming to provide a better understanding of their total value, both use and non-use value, as viewed by the population. An objective was to explore whether or not the citizens found that their benefits outweighed the costs to provide them.

 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03074800510634973

 

 

                                                                                                                                   

Estimating the economic value of library benefits

Hawkins, M., Morris, A. & Sumsion, J 2003,  Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 13-27.

 

Abstract

The theory underlying the economic value of library benefits is outlined, and research (mainly in Australia and New Zealand) is reviewed. A UK research project examined four methods of assessing benefits in economic terms with particular attention to a consensus “market value” model. In developing the “market value” model one key variable is the relationship of book reads to book prices. A prototype value added schedule gives estimates of value for different library services to compare estimated total benefits with total costs. For UK public libraries, calculations show that the economic value of library benefits exceeds costs incurred, with social and intangible benefits in addition. New performance indicators are suggested by the research. It is shown how the methodology can be extended from public libraries to a parliamentary library and also to the economic and social costs of crime.

 

Full text http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=862312

 

 

 

Worth Their Weight. An Assessment of the Evolving Field of Library Valuation 2007

Economic Valuation Methodologies include, Cost/Benefit Analysis, Contingent Valuation & Secondary Economic Impact Analysis

Abstract

The authors observe that over the past decade, public library valuation researchers have adopted valuation methods from the field of economics that allow the library to put a dollar value on its programs and services and show efficient use of tax dollars in cost/benefit terminology. The field has grown from simple questionnaires to complex surveys, and from simple economic cost/benefit assessments to complex economic algorithms and forecasts.
The authors note it is important to recognise the more intangible social dividends, and to find ways to express and quantify learning values and cultural benefits. They observe that the concept of social return on investment (SROI) is gaining acceptance in the corporate world through tools such as the Balanced Score Card and triple-bottom-line reporting—which characterizes the social, financial, and enviro

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