Student studying in library


Assessing the Economic Value of Public Library Collections and Services:
A Review of the Literature and Meta-Analysis


About META

Valuation Studies

META Project Results


META Research Team

more libraries

© 2009 META



META project goals
META project research questions
META project methodology


  META Project Goals

META is a multi-year research project begun in the fall of 2008 to provide insight into and a robust model of the economic value of public libraries.  The results will be useful on many levels:

  • Building national research capacity: the results of the project will help clarify a number of issues for researchers, including the effectiveness of different means of assessing the economic performance of public libraries, measurements that can withstand analysis and testing for homogeneity, and profitable directions for new empirical studies that build cumulative knowledge.
  • Facilitating community engagement: The transferable value estimates and communication models produced by the project will allow practitioners to provide new and relatively reliable information concerning the likely impact of library services and library volunteer efforts in their communities.  As well as providing a new sense of value, this type of information makes a clear argument for both institutional ownership and citizen engagement.
  • Strengthening local advocacy capacity: The project’s findings will strengthen library advocates’ ability to present a multi faceted argument for the value of public libraries. While economic analysis rarely stands on its own as a convincing agent, its absence is noted when it is unspoken or unavailable to those who must assess competing departmental and funding priorities.
  • Diversity: This project will be of particular value to small public libraries with operating budgets and service priorities that are likely to preclude local economic assessment and modeling. In the many cases where these libraries are centered in remote, rural, and diverse communities, the librarians and community members will have a stronger argument for becoming involved in public libraries and improving library services without incurring time and fiscal expenses that might typically exceed their grasp.

  Return to top


Last updated 03/27/2013