Describing and measuring the value of public libraries: The growth of the Internet and the evolution of library value

Paul T. Jaeger, John Carlo Bertot, Christine M. Kodama, Sarah M. Katz, Elizabeth J. DeCoster

Abstract


In the current economic climate, public libraries find themselves in the position of defending and justifying their funding and continued existence to their stakeholders. Many of these public libraries seek to prove their worth to their community through the use of different measurements and metrics to demonstrate quantifiable contributions and different understandings of the concept of value as part of showing a contribution. As libraries need to justify their value to policymakers, library usage is skyrocketing, begging the question: how can public libraries effectively demonstrate their value as critical social institutions to the communities that they serve and the policy-makers that allocate their funding? By examining varied concepts of value, this paper explores different understandings of public libraries as places and their contributions to society. The paper also discusses various approaches public libraries have taken to illustrate, articulate, and demonstrate their value. After detailing several value demonstration approaches that public libraries are taking currently or could take, this paper discusses the implications of value demonstration approaches for libraries in social and policy contexts.

Keywords


Value; Economic impact; Evaluation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i11.3765



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