Data and Decisions

Data for material costs were sourced from the American Library Association’s Library Use Value Calculator Explanations of Values. As far as we can determine, these material costs are from 2018, and current prices for materials may be slightly higher.

Library ServiceValue of ServiceBased On
Adult Books Borrowed$ average price
Young Adult Books Borrowed$ average price
Children Books Borrowed$ average price
Audiobooks Borrowed$ download average
Interlibrary Loan Requests$ average price plus shipping
eBooks Downloaded$15.00Estimated B&N/Amazon average
Magazines Read$5.00Estimated purchase price average
Newspapers Read$9.50Boston Globe subscription (outside city)
Movies Borrowed$4.00Estimated Netflix average
CDs Borrowed$9.95iTunes download album average
Music Downloaded$1.00iTunes download song average
Meeting Room Use (per hour)$25.00Estimated value
Adult Programs Attended$15.00Entertainment/program admission fee – estimated average per adult
Young Adult Programs Attended$12.00Entertainment/program admission fee – estimated average per youth
Children’s Programs Attended$7.00Entertainment/program admission fee – estimated average per child
Museum Passes Borrowed$20.00Museum admission fee – estimated average for two adults
Computer Use (per hour)$12.00FedEx/Kinkos price
Database Searches$19.95Average cost for online article search
Reference Assistance$7.00Average library cost

Data for labor costs were sourced from a nationwide survey conducted by our team in 2019-2020 asking U.S. librarians and library workers about what kinds of tasks they perform regularly, how much time they spend on various types of tasks, and salary information. Additional estimations of time spent on various tasks were sourced from existing literature about library work as well as the personal and professional experiences of our team members.