Promising developments in the field of library valuation over the last fifteen years are providing new options for demonstrating library value. Metrics-gathering has moved away from counting inputs and outputs toward measuring the value of the public library in monetary terms using increasingly sophisticated quantitative methods formerly reserved for business and industry. While it is premature to draw a firm conclusion as to the impact of economic valuation efforts on the success of library advocacy, the adoption of private sector concepts represents a new window of opportunity for library advocates. This critical review synthesizes the library valuation literature, exploring the various frameworks through which library value is being articulated, and finds that econometrics will be most useful to advocates when: 1) library valuation efforts are united with advocacy plans; 2) library services are linked to the achievement of public policy goals; and 3) public libraries are able to connect to a wider funding base.

About Author

Tracy Micka is a graduate student at San José State University, School of Library and Information Science and holds a BA in Sociology from the University of California San Diego.