And if you weren't influenced by the general "need for value" arguments...here are the questions library administrators need to answer today:
Obviously when discussing "value," the profit world and the non-profit world differ. In determining how value is both defined and articulated to constituents, it is helpful to study overviews of both general value information (Not for Profit Valuation Overview,) as well as how value is articulated in public organizations such as value in higher education ("Spotlight" in ETS The Value of Higher Education; The True Value of Higher Education; What Does Value Look Like in Higher Education?; What Value Really Means in Higher Education); the value of cities and community or communities (What are Cities Worth?; Value of Communities)and the value of K-12 or K-20 education (A New Perspective: The Value of K-20 Education.) Obviously identifying what general value is and generally held beliefs of perceptions of value in our umbrella organizations, assists in determining the roles library play in a variety of settings
Libraries articulate their value in a wide variety of ways and historically their value has been determined in broad, subjective terms using anecdotal data and "storytelling." Answers to the questions about "why libraries?" USED to be answered by:
Other historical articulation of value includes use of aggregated flat or one-dimensional data to describe both input and outputs regarding facilties, services and resources such as data on sizes, depth and breadth of print and online resources. Value of libraries has also been articulated in two or multi-dimension data that illustrate value such as the use of collections in relationship to the number and type of users; the number and type of materials in relation to the disciplines and subject areas needed by constituents or the attendance at programs or use of services by the number of potential or actual users. (How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities)
While these types of data gathering and value illustration are still valid (Value: Declaration for the Right to Libraries, Library Snapshot Day) organizations and environments now have greater accountability and performance standards. Today's entities must now mirror umbrella organization's assessments and illustrations of value. That is, if educational settings measure student learning outcomes, then libraries must illustrate their value in the student success process of students achieving student learning outcomes. If communities value ecomonic development and how county departments support economic development, then libraries must illustate the role they play in economic development. (Return on Investment)
Other general library content includes:
Aabo, Svanhild. “Libraries and Return on Investment (ROI): A Meta‐Analysis.” New Library World 110, no. 7/8 (2009): 311‐324.
Aaron, Bruce C. “Determining the Business Impact of Knowledge Management.” Performance Improvement 48, no. 4 (2009):35‐45.
The American Library Association has a variety of resources on value that include general value and value by type of library, type of service and type of resources. Although two of these resources are listed above, this content is basic and provides anecdotal and subjective data such as Libraries: An American Value, The Value of Libraries as well as specific to type of library (Academic Libraries, Public Libraries, School Libraries and Special Libraries.)
In addition to content being accessible on the ALA website, the ALA-driven "I Love Libraries" includes author testimonials on library value (John Grisham on the Value of Libraries and Librarians), excellent comparison data historical in nature as well as classic articles such as Are School Libraries Expendable? and dozens more.
ALA's Allied Professionals Association focuses on library employees and salary standards and equity. Library Worklife, the ALA/APA newletter includes a variety of artilces identifying librarian roles and responsibiliites.
ACRL. Value of Academic Libraries. Blog. 2014 - (no membership required)
ALA. Advocacy University. Value of Libraries. n.d. (mix of value data)
Assessment Committee. Value of Academic Libraries Toolkit. 2010.
National Library Medicine. The Value of Library and Information Services in Patient Care Study. 2013+
Oakleaf, Megan. The Value of Academic Libraries. ACRL.2010.
SLA. "Research." 1990 -
Other content on value: