This toolkit originates from the Health Sciences Information Consortium and is in the process of being adapted and updated by the CHLA/ABSC Standards Standing Committee.

This page provides an overview of some tools and approaches to measuring the value of libraries.

Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA)

Cost-benefit analysis is used to determine the benefits of a particular service relative to the costs associated with it. It is often expressed via a return on investment (ROI) calculation. This is an idea borrowed from the business world, but in libraries the return is generally not income but rather savings from using external services. When using ROI or other CBA-based metrics, it is important not to assume that use equates with value. ROI can provide tangible evidence of value, but numbers do not tell the whole story. Take time to plan ROI calculations carefully, considering the complex resource packages and services provided by the library.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key performance indicators are a means of monitoring progress towards a particular objective. Unlike general statistics, KPIs are tied to a specific goal; each goal may have one or more associated KPIs, but the KPIs should be key indicators in assessing progress towards a goal. KPIs should be reviewed regularly to ensure their continued relevance, particularly as strategic plans are updated.

Balanced Scorecard

A balanced scorecard is a measurement and strategic management system that also acts as a communication tool by quickly displaying key information in an easily readable format. It is frequently used in the health sector to track and communicate performance.

sample balanced scorecard

When developing a balanced scorecard, start with a one-page strategy map, which is a visualization of your strategy objectives. Each library needs its own unique scorecard; however, it may be helpful to consult examples from other libraries. Use the scorecard as a management and change process tool, to translate vision and strategy into objectives, targets and initiatives.