Value of Public Library Service
Developed for “Survivor: Library Success in
a program co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Regional Library Systems and
The Legislative Committee of the Massachusetts Library Association
Librarians know intuitively that public libraries provide great value to
their communities. It’s hard to express the benefits in terms that decision
makers and residents understand, and harder still to quantify.
In recent years, efforts have been made toward that elusive goal. Glen Holt
and Donald Elliot proposed one model in “Measuring Outcomes: Applying Cost-Benefit
Analysis to Middle-sized and Smaller Public Libraries.” (Library Trends, Winter
2003). Also see the oline publication, "Placing a Value on Public Library
Services" by Glen E. Holt, Donald Elliott, and Amonia Moore (http://www.slpl.lib.mo.us/libsrc/restoc.htm).
Another is offered in The Library's Contribution to Your Community: a
Resource Manual for Libraries to Document Their Social and Economic Contribution
to the Local Community (IER Planning, Research and Management Services
in association with Cameron Consulting Services and C.N. Watson and Associates,
Vaughan, Ontario, 1998.)
The Value of Public Library Service tool provides a concrete, practical,
measure of the market worth of services provided by a public library.
Typical library services were selected and included. Each value was tested
against the question: “Will an average consumer understand and accept the
value that’s been assigned?”
The spreadsheet can be downloaded into Excel by saving the file to your
local computer. It can be used as is by opening the file in most browsers
and filling in data for your library. Alternatively, each library can assign
values that are more meaningful locally or add services that have not been
included in the model.
Ways to use the results:
· To provide ammunition for advocacy by your Board
· In budget presentations
· In conversation with community officials
Your suggestions for making the tool more effective are welcomed.
|MLA...Working for you and your library for over 100 years.
Massachusetts Library Association • P.O. Box 535 • Bedford MA 01730
Ph. (781) 275-7729 * Fax (781) 998-0393