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Return of Investment (ROI) in Libraries : MEASURING A LIBRARY’S VALUE: WHY, WHO, HOW

Libraries are under mounting pressure to show their effectiveness and quantify their values. Then, How can they demonstrate their values by looking to the future? Return on investment (ROI) is how much you get back for what you put into something. ROI in libraries can be used to measure the costs (investment) and the outcomes (the return on investment) from the perspective of library users, the parent organisation, or from the perspective of the library itself. Thus, ROI can be an integral part of the process for evaluating a library’s services, collections, staffing levels, planning for new services and resources, or measuring how valuable a library is to its community and stakeholders. (Lown, C and Davis, H, 2009. Are you worth it? What Return on Investment can and can't tell you about your library. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2009/are-you-worth-it-what-return-on-investment/

Calls for accountability in all sectors of our economies are growing more frequent and urgent. Libraries are no exception. Special, academic, public, school, and other types of libraries are all struggling to find ways to measure their value. This panel will look at initiatives that originated in the United States but that now can be found in other countries as well.

Panel Moderator:

Paula Kaufman, Interim Director of the Mortenson Center for International Programs, UIUC, will discuss why UIUC became involved in early ROI studies and how that evolved into the Library Value (LibVal) project, reporting on findings from the 3+ year LibVal studies.


Chrysanne Lowe, Vice President, Global Marketing Communications, Elsevier, will talk about Elsevier’s motivation for investing in early ROI studies and will bring us up to date about how those studies spurred a focus on defining value for each of their stakeholders, leading to new ways of looking at value.

Lynn Wiley, Head of Acquisitions, UIUC, will report on her more than a decade of study of the value of books and ebooks to faculty and students at a large academic research library, with a detailed report on her latest findings.

A question and answer session will follow the presentations.

Paula T. Kaufman

Following a long career as a University Library leader and administrator, Paula Kaufman is now the Interim Director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where she also holds the rank of Professor. Paula was appointed UIUC University Librarian in 1999 and was invested as the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian in 2008, serving in that position until August 2013. During the 2005-2006 academic year, she served as the University’s Acting Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining Illinois, Paula served as dean of libraries at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1988-99) and in a variety of positions at Columbia University, including Director of Academic Information Services and Acting Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian. She also worked as a librarian at Yale University and McKinsey and Company and was a co-founder and partner in Information for Business, New York City.

Lynn Wiley

Lynn Wiley is Head of Acquisitions and Associate Professor, University Libraries she has been a librarian for over thirty years working for academic libraries on the east coast and since 1995 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Lynn has worked in public service roles until 2005 when she became the Head of Acquisitions at Illinois. She has written and presented widely on access and acquisition issues including ebook studies and data analyses of large collections. She is active in state, regional and national professional associations and has served on the OCLC Members Council and held two terms on the editorial board of LRTS (Library Resources and Technical Services).

Chrysanne Lowe

Vice President, Global Marketing Communications,
Research Applications and Platform
Head of House
Elsevier San Diego
525 B Street, Suite 1800
San Diego, CA 92101
Fax: 619-699-6380
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter @ChrysanneLowe

Chrysanne Lowe: Vice President, Global Marketing Communications

Chrysanne is responsible for global marketing communications at Elsevier and is active in partnering with customer communities to understand the evolution and future of knowledge creation, utilization, and dissemination. Chrysanne sponsored and managed a study on the Return on Investment in Information that Library Journal deemed in 2009 “A pioneering ROI case study” with Paula Kaufman at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, followed by an international study in 2010 with Dr. Carol Tenopir at the University of Tennessee. Prior to joining Elsevier in 2001, Chrysanne was responsible for the worldwide licensing and marketing for Academic Press’ IDEAL, one of the first large scale electronic journal publishing platforms. Today, she also serves as Head of House for Elsevier’s 100 employees in San Diego, California. Chrysanne graduated cum laude in Communications from University of California, San Diego and has spoken at numerous industry trade conferences including the Medical Library Association, AcademyHealth, and the American Library Association; and has written about leadership and gender on Leanin.org.

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