The theory underlying the economic value of library benefits is outlined, and research (mainly in Australia and New Zealand) is reviewed. A UK research project examined four methods of assessing benefits in economic terms with particular attention to a consensus “market value” model. In developing the “market value” model one key variable is the relationship of book reads to book prices. A prototype value added schedule gives estimates of value for different library services to compare estimated total benefits with total costs. For UK public libraries, calculations show that the economic value of library benefits exceeds costs incurred, with social and intangible benefits in addition. New performance indicators are suggested by the research. It is shown how the methodology can be extended from public libraries to a parliamentary library and also to the economic and social costs of crime.
Sumsion, J., Hawkins, M. and Morris, A. (2003), "Estimating the economic value of library benefits", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 13-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/14678040310471211
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