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Value: Home

Libraries are focusing on gathering information on value and worth and on the roles that their facilities, services and resources - including library professionals - play in the success of their constituents.

TLA & Value

A search of with "value" or "value" and a type of library such as "public libraries" or "school libraries" yields a variety of sources from TLA committees, content from the Texas Association of School Librarians with Texas content and links to national content. In addition, accessing "Advocacy" links to a ROI Texas study, a Values Toolkit, OCLC and Pew content on value and an article on the value of TexShare databases.

"Research & Statistics" provides links to general data about libraries and by type of library (academic, public, school and special) zs well as Texas and comparison data to national data and public opinion data.

ALA & Value

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 resoources.  This content is basic and provides anecdotal and subjective data such as Libraries: An American Value, The Value of Libraries, Libraries Matter: Impact Research, 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.

What is value?

The definition of "value" is varied and changes within disciplines and educational areas - for example - "value" in accounting is identified using worth, assets and services rendered and has standards and guidelines for determining value, while in economics, value is associated with ownership of goods,  items or services and the benefits of ownership or access to those goods, items or services in the determination of the value.
And - although the value of something is ultimately determined by the individual or group assessing the goods or items or services, contemporary value discussions include the satisfaction of the users or constituents perception of the value or worth and how much they are willing to support it or pay for it, rather than for it's specific value. Additional issues with determining value are broad and sometimes contradictory and include:
  • Although one group (or administration or constituent group) can recognize value, another group in the same area or organization or institution may not.
  • Value may vary based on changing benefits; that is, if an organization needs specific resdources to meet a unique need and that need changes then the basic value may go away.
  • The value of resources, services, facilities may change with time; that is, resources may age and lose value or may age and gain in value.
  • The value of a service or expertise may change because it becomes outdated as a process or need changes or updating or because a means of delivery may change.

These examples - no matter how general - are at the heart of both the ease and difficulty of value and determining value. That is, the concept of value is NOT a one-time-only or short term concept. Instead, value is and should be carefully tracked along with criteria for determining value and should be carefully managed to provide required baseline information as well as ongoing updating and changes in value. In addition, the value or worth of areas, items, activities, services, people and expertise, etc. should be accumulated, measured against standards of excellence and used for best practices and measuring for not only expert ways of assessing value but also comparing and contrasting and articulating value.


"Don't Miss" Value Data

As with any topic there are resources we shouldn't miss as well as resources we should "begin with." In preparing our own value content - of course - we begin with ourselves:

  • What "value is valued" by the umbrella institution (or audience or recipient, etc.) of my (internal report, budget request, external reporting agency request, accrediting body, etc.)

  • What terminology is current or being used by x? in the value literature? in the organization? in the "life" of the recipient (funding agency, donor, accreditation panel, etc.)

  • What is the type and/or level of value content needed? Results only? Results and methodolgy? Do I only need my content? Should I include best practices? What are the (organizational or recipient, etc.) timelines? Annual only? Five years? Since the last x?

"Don't miss" resources include (and in recommended order):

Abram. "Value of Libraries Megapost." Stephen's Lighthouse. 2005 - (dozens, but missing some LRS, U.S. federal, Webjunction AND has other megaposts by type of library)

ACRL. Value of Academic Libraries. Blog. 2014 - (no membership required)

with categories

ALA. Advocacy University. Value of Libraries. n.d. (mix of value data)

Assessment Committee. Value of Academic Libraries Toolkit. 2010.

Gross, Valerie. J. Moving Up to First Class: Libraries = Education. Public Libraries. July/August. 2015. 

NLM. The Value of Library and Information Services in Patient Care Study. 2013+

Oakleaf. The Value of Academic Libraries. ACRL. 2010.

SLA. "Research." 1990 -


ARL. Library Assessment. Blog. 2014 - (membership required)

Don't Miss Library Value "Watch this Space"

There are a number of excellent, relatively new web environments designed by data aggregators and researchers to compile information to assist in the illustration of value. These sites include both general and specific data as well as:

  • trends and trendspotting
  • techniques for using data
  • scenarios, best practices and benchmarking
  • commentary and critques on research data
  • innovative ideas

ALA. Center for the Future of Libraries. 2014 - (See "Blog," "Trends," and "Recent Articles." and watch for "Trends" entries to have features illustrating each trend.)

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