Worth Their Weight: An Assessment of the Evolving Field of Library Valuation (2007)

This study was commissioned by the Americans for Libraries Council as part of their larger program, “Building Knowledge for Library Advocacy”. This study, published in 2007 was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Section I of Worth Their Weight  approaches the subject of economic valuation from three directions: (1) a discussion of recent library valuation studies that illustrate important quantitative analysis techniques and other notable characteristics, including aspects of their structure, presentation, and use; (2) a discussion of alternative social return on investment (SROI) methods as they relate to public libraries; and (3) a set of detailed action-oriented recommendations for accelerating growth in the field of library valuation and facilitating its use in advocacy settings.

Section II presents summary profiles of 17 valuation and impact studies done since 1998. While these study summaries are not a substitute for reading the full reports themselves, they offer a unique overview of the field. The profiles are abridged to essential data, including authors, algorithms and methodological approach, results, and survey questions, and include links to the full reports online. The summaries are intended to provide researchers and advocates interested in this subject with a quick and efficient means of obtaining an overall appraisal of the field without wading through hundreds of pages of research reports.