Defined as:

“The importance that stakeholders (funding institutions, politicians, the public, users, staff) attach to libraries and which is related to the perception of actual or potential benefit (3.75). The input is converted into output by means of processes. The output can have direct, predefined effects (outcomes). Output and outcomes can lead to impact and finally to value.” Methods and procedures for assessing the impact of libraries BS ISO 16439:2014.  

Benefit or worth which can include monetary value and impact (Bawden et al, 2009)

“The benefit the user obtains from the use of information and the effect of that use” (Urquhart and Hepworth, 1995: 33)

It can include utility or usefulness, is determined by the service user and is difficult to disentangle from quality (Urquhart, 2015)

Value is often used in conjunction (or even interchangeably) with impact.  However, impact is a part of value, as is user satisfaction and service quality and assessment of monetary value. 

One of the simplest ways to think about value is the 3 approaches outlined by Bawden et al, 2009: 

  1. Assessment of monetary value, where a library is able to show its true worth or value in monetary terms. 

  • It is difficult and complex to put a value on information and how it has been used 

  • Studies that have attempted to do this use a technique called contingent valuation to produce return on investment (ROI) figures 

  1. Assessment of, or actual, difference a library is making to its stakeholders, usually by asking about the effects on users’ work 

  1. Assessment of the nature of the benefit provided. 

  • This goes beyond a simple demonstration of value added 

  • It provides a detailed understanding of how and why services provide value 

  • An important example of this type of study was (Urquhart and Hepworth, 1995)  

  • This led to the development of the original toolkit for evaluating the impact of health libraries (Weightman, Urquhart, et al, 2008) 

  • The approach was adopted in the more recent study evaluating clinical librarian services. 

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021