January 23, 2022

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

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

Source: First Monday


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.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.