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


About META

Valuation Studies

META Project Results


META Research Team

© 2009 META


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Beginning 11/1/2010

Welcome to META

META is a multi-year research project begun in the fall of 2008 to provide:
  • Insight into the value of public libraries; and

  • A robust model of the economic value of public libraries. 

Over the past several years, many studies of the economic impact of libraries have been performed both in the U.S. and abroad.  Almost all of these studies concentrated on two basic questions:
  1. Whether there is evidence that public libraries contribute to the economic prosperity of the communities they serve; and

  2. How these benefits might be reliably characterized.

These studies show considerable diversity in the populations studied and the methodologies used. 

The META project differs significantly from prior studies, while making extensive use of their findings.  First, the META project has a broad scope that is neither population nor geographically specific.  Second, rather than collecting new data, the META project uses meta-analysis techniques to draw conclusions developed by integrating the results of prior studies and probing them for patterns that will:
  1. Improve our understanding of the economic effects of public library services;

  2. Point out weaknesses and strengths of the methodologies used in earlier studies;

  3. Contribute to theory development about the economic benefits of public libraries.

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Last updated 03/29/2013