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Value of Library and Information Services

Since the early 1990's, health care institutions have faced economic problems resulting in downsizing or outsourcing of services. Many hospital libraries have closed and others have been merged with other hospital or academic libraries to cut costs in hospitals and health care institutions. Additionally the advances in information via the web have changed the way libraries provide services, but, we believe, have not eliminated the need for services provided by libraries and professional librarians or health information professionals. The objectives of the "Value of Using Library and Information Services" research project are to address the following questions:

1. What is the value of using library and information services to the hospital/health care institution?
2. What kinds of information does management recognize as valid measures of the contributions which librarians through the provision of services make to the bottom line (i.e., cost-based accounting, return on investment)?

The final report of the MLA-funded project was to

  • Review value, cost-benefit, or return-on-investment measurements used by other service fields and evaluate their applicability to library services. (See Saracevic, T. and Kantor, PB. Studying the Value of Library and Information Services. Part II. Methodology and Taxonomy. Journal of the American Society for Information Science: 48(6):543-563, 1997.)
  • Collect and present data, which assess the value of library and information services as defined by librarians to the bottom-line of their organizations.
  • Identify indicators of value and presentations methods that are meaningful to upper management in health care institutions including a model that can be replicated by health sciences librarians in various settings.

Final Report and Publications