CAUL Advisory Committees

Lib-Value: new article/preprint in College & Research Libraries

Lib-Value: Values, Outcomes, and Return on Investment of Academic Libraries, Phase III: ROI of the Syracuse University Library

Bruce Kingma, Professor, School of Information Studies and Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, brkingma@syr.edu.

Kathleen McClure, MSLIS graduate of Syracuse University.

“The library must determine which public goods to provide based on the total value to the patrons. Likewise, the university administration must determine how much funding to invest in the library based on the value of the public goods it provides. The ROI of the academic library is the total value of these goods to the patrons divided by the cost.”

“The value of a public good includes the economic, environmental, and social value. The economic value is the worth of access to the library resources by a patron. It is what a patron would be willing to pay for the services if he were required to purchase them. Patrons do not purchase access, but can express what they would have spent in time and money if these resources were not available to them.”

The authors refer to the following report from ACRL by Megan Oakleaf: The Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report

  • “Oakleaf makes an extensive review of methodologies and best practices in the area of ROI in libraries.”
  • “A key point in The Value of Academic Libraries is that “all assessment methods have advantages and disadvantages,” and “no tools are perfectly valid or reliable….To address this, Oakleaf and others recommend multiple method approaches.”
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