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A Review of Methods for Measuring the Value of Public Libraries

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A Review of Methods for Measuring the Value of Public Libraries

  1. 1. LIRG SCAN AWARD 2010 A REVIEW OF EXISTING QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE EVALUATION METHODOLOGIES FOR DEMONSTRATING THE VALUE OF PUBLIC LIBRARIES Christine Rooney-Browne PhD Researcher, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Umbrella Conference 2011
  2. 2. <ul><li>To define value </li></ul><ul><li>To present an overview of current methods for measuring performance </li></ul><ul><li>To discuss quantitative and qualitative evaluations methodologies </li></ul><ul><li>To identify examples of successful library valuation projects </li></ul><ul><li>To introduce potential methods for measuring value from the non-profit sector </li></ul>Objectives...
  3. 3. How do we define value? “ ... defining value in the context of libraries is complex , individual stakeholders are unique , performance measurement is essentially spatial , and operating in an environment that is neither causal nor predictive creates complications” (Cram, 1999, p. 1).   © Christine Rooney-Browne (2009).
  4. 4. Value is not fixed... <ul><ul><li>Personal, educational, professional circumstances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seven Ages of Library Use (Bohme and Spiller, 1999): </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Times of crisis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>War, Recession, Natural Disasters (New Orleans) </li></ul></ul>“ Libraries can be valued in many different ways, from hard dollars to intangibles like community goodwill and historical significance ” (Elliott, 2005).
  5. 6. Quantitative Methodologies
  6. 7. Audits... <ul><li>CIPFA Public Library Statistic Actuals Report </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Library managers complete a report about expenditure and income, staff levels, service points, stock levels, issues, enquiries, visits, inter-library loans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library & Information Statistics Unit (LISU) summarises key statistics from this report in their Libraries, Archives, Museums, Publishing, Online Statistics Table (LAMPOST) </li></ul></ul>(LISU, 2010)
  7. 8. Pros & Cons... <ul><li>“ ...quantity of use and quality of performance do not yet prove that users benefitted from their interaction with a library. Measuring impact or outcome means going a step further and trying to assess the affect of services on users and on society” (Poll and Boekhorst, 2007, p. 31). </li></ul><ul><li>How well the library is performing statistically </li></ul><ul><li>Statistics can be invaluable (budgets, staffing, stock) </li></ul><ul><li>Enables comparisons (league tables) </li></ul><ul><li>Disparity in funding </li></ul><ul><li>Geographical location </li></ul><ul><li>Overlook contribution to lives of individuals, local community and economy </li></ul>
  8. 9. Return on Investment Studies (ROIs) <ul><li>Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enables quantifiable values, such as cost or purchase price, to be applied to variables that are difficult to measure; used to measure direct benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consumer Surplus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the value that consumers place on the consumption of a good or service in excess of what they must pay to get it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cost of Time and Effort </li></ul><ul><ul><li>measures time and effort expended by users </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contingent Valuation (CV) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>measures the value of use and non-use of non-priced goods and services (e.g. public libraries) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Willingness to Pay (WTP) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Willingness to Accept (WTA) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Input-Output Models (IOMs) <ul><ul><li>Evaluating indirect benefits (e.g. impact that library has on the local economy) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits measured using mathematical software models which looks at cause and effect relationships (e.g. Regional Input-Output Modelling System II and the Regional Economic Models, Inc (REMI)). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have been used in the past to measure the value of beaches and parks. </li></ul></ul>“ ...if we can demonstrate our worth, with numbers, our budget numbers will be all the more justifiable” (Finch and Warner, 1998, p.158).
  10. 11. Combining CBAs and IOMs... <ul><li>Suffolk Cooperative Library System (SCLS) </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit-to-cost-ratio methods to measure direct benefits: </li></ul><ul><li>Total Value of library services ÷ Tax dollars supporting service: </li></ul><ul><li>$509,415,038 ÷ $131,647,566 = $3.87 : 1 benefit/cost ratio </li></ul><ul><li>For every $1 invested the library returned $3.87 in direct benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Using input-output model called RIMS II to measure indirect benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Library generated $26 million in goods and services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library enabled local earnings to increase by more than $50 million </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Created more than 1,200 jobs for the local economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Total multiplier effect of SCLS spending = $232 million . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Imholz and Arns, 2007, p. 19). </li></ul>
  11. 12. Library Use Valuation Calculator... (Chelmsford Public Library, 2010)
  12. 14. But what about social value...? <ul><ul><li>(Rooney-Browne, 2009b). </li></ul></ul>
  13. 15. Qualitative Methodologies
  14. 16. Social Impact Audit...
  15. 17. Ethnography... “ Ethnography is the art and science of describing a group or culture......the ethnographer is both storyteller and scientist; the closer the reader of an ethnography comes to understanding the native’s point of view, the better the story and the better the science” (Fetterman, 1998, pp. 1-2).
  16. 18. Tracking Value... <ul><li>The Engaged Library: Chicago Stories of Community Building </li></ul><ul><li>Prove that public libraries build social capital </li></ul><ul><li>Identify & connect the library’s assets to the community </li></ul><ul><li>Assess & strengthen the library’s connections with and use of community assets </li></ul><ul><li>Produce a toolkit for other libraries to adopt to </li></ul><ul><li>Mapping tools to perform an inventory services, identify areas for improvement and highlight library’s contribution to the community’s wider social, educational, cultural and economic goals. </li></ul>(Urban Libraries Council, 2006, pp.32-42).
  17. 19. Tracking Value... (UKOC, 2008, p.4).
  18. 20. Profiling... People behind the Numbers: Janet (UKOK, 2010, p.38). <ul><li>Profiling has enabled UKOC to translate faceless data into outcomes that are “tangible, practicable and workable” (UKOC, 2010, p.5). </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholders and funders might be able to relate easier and have empathy for ‘Janet’ rather than a ‘C2DE female’. </li></ul>
  19. 21. Multiple Method Approaches...
  20. 22. Seattle Central Library Economics Benefits Assessment... (SCL, 2005, p.10).
  21. 23. Methodology & Results... <ul><li>CBA methods to estimate economic impact </li></ul><ul><li>Case studies, visitor and user surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews with local businesses, developers and representatives from tourism </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of visitor and usage statistics. </li></ul><ul><li>Generated $16 million in net new economic activity in its first year of operation </li></ul><ul><li>Projections next twenty years: $80m (5yrs), $155m (10 years) or $310m (20 yrs) </li></ul><ul><li>improves desirability of downtown area & Seattle as tourist destination </li></ul><ul><li>An icon </li></ul><ul><li>Findings used as an advocacy tool </li></ul>
  22. 24. Social Return on Investment ...the future? <ul><li>“ ...whether the capital provided is generating meaningful, real returns--returns for the manager, the investor and society as a whole” (Emerson, 2004). </li></ul><ul><li>Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>venture philanthropists working with non profits to create job opportunities for disenfranchised </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Created SROI Model (2000): </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measure success...achieving goals...inform decisions...convince others of our impact </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Javitis, 2008, p.1). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 25. Measuring SROI... <ul><li>Compares net benefits of a project to investment (financial & time) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Return Ratio (SRR): by combining net social benefits with cash flow of the business then dividing by the total value of the philanthropic investment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SROI Rate: by carrying out an Internal Rate of Return (IRR ) derived from total socio-economic value and total costs (Emerson and Cabaj, 2000, p. 11) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The New Economics Foundation, London Business School & Small Business Service produced a SROI Primer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Helps organisations identify and measure social outputs, outcomes and impacts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides advice to help organisations use SROI Model to translate impacts into values (NEF, 2004). </li></ul></ul>
  24. 26. Conclusion... <ul><li>Perfect methodology does not exist but there are many possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>No general consensus as to the ideal model for measuring value </li></ul><ul><li>Competition for funding is fierce </li></ul><ul><li>Cuts are inevitable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find the methodology that best fits your project and your objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ In today’s climate of accountability, a better understanding of the value of public libraries is becoming essential to preserving and encouraging public and private investment” </li></ul><ul><li>(Imholz and Arns, 2007, p.12). </li></ul>
  25. 28. THANK YOU CONTACT ME: E-MAIL: [email_address] BLOG: www.libraryofdigress.co.uk Twitter: www.twitter.com/ librarydigress Voices for the Library: http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/

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