Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Value of Library Services - How Much Would You Pay for Electronic Resources?

I'm on this librarian listserv. One of the librarians recently posed this query:

I am working on a hypothetical question, in which I hope you can offer some sound and reasonable opinions. I am trying to determine the value of library services, specifically how much a typical person would pay each time they wanted to access electronic resources (online databases, e-books, etc) that were available at a library? (Public, special, academic, etc.)

Of course there are a lot of variables to consider, such as the cost and content of the database, size and geographical location of the community, convenience of accessing the database remotely, etc.

Interesting, and difficult question to answer, the library community agreed. I bring it up, though, because in the discussion about the upcoming vote about the building and rehabilitation of branch libraries, scheduled for February 6, the conversation is naturally about the structures.

I know, as a librarian who uses the library remotely more often than I walk in the door, that the value of the library is not merely a function of the foot traffic, but of the personnel, and the materials, including the databases housed therein.

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