LRS Launches ROI Study

How much is the public library worth to you? Your family? Your community? These are some of the questions return on investment studies can answer.

Purpose
The LRS study, “What’s It Worth to You? A Return-on-Investment Study of Selected Colorado Public Libraries” is designed not only to yield an overall return-on-investment figure for Colorado public libraries, but also to generate similar figures specifically for education and economic development uses of the state?s public libraries.

Participants
Two library districts are key partners in this study: Douglas County Libraries and Rangeview Library District. In addition, six other libraries representing various types and sizes of Colorado communities will participate in the study, including Fort Morgan Public Library, Montrose Regional Library District, Eagle Valley Library District, Mesa County Public Library District, Cortez Public Library, and Denver Public Library.

Benefit
As a result of this project, library administrators and advocates will be able to express the value of public library services in specific dollar-and-cents terms. Example: ?For every dollar invested in public libraries, residents of [participating community?s name] receive $x.xx worth of value in return.? They will be able to describe the variety of different reasons that individuals use public libraries, as well as the contributions of libraries to economic development and education. Library contributions to the latter two specific areas will also be expressible in ROI terms.

Preliminary findings will be published in Fall 2007.

~Nicolle
steffen_n@cde.state.co.us

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LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education. We design and conduct library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs. We partner with the Library and Information Science program at University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education to provide research fellowships to current MLIS students.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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