Thursday, August 9, 2012
Your Library's Value
In an era of tight budgets and the rise of "everything is on the internet now" it becomes very important to speak to the number-oriented people in terms they understand. That's why the idea of calculating your library's return on investment is more important then ever. For example, I looked at Langley Presbyterian Church Library's stats for the year to date: about 61 items circulated and about $283 spent from a budget of $610. When I plugged the circulation statistics in to the Library Value Calculator to see that we provided a value of $825.50 to to our congregation. In other words, if those 61 titles were purchased by individuals in the congregation, they would have to spend about $825. However, instead of spending that, they borrowed from the library and kept $825 in their pockets - or put it in the offering plate - and a portion of the offering went to the church library budget. For every dollar the library team spent, the congregation got $2.91 in library value. That's a great return on investment and puts a new light on what seemed to be low circulation figures!
(Read more about how the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is using this strategy.)
Of course there are other ways to calculate the value of your library. An inventory of all your resources, shelves, furniture, supplies and equipment will help you calculate the replacement value. Make sure the folks who look after your church's insurance know that number.
Even more important and harder to calculate is the intangible value of your library -- the ways that you and your resources touch lives. God sees and knows that. But, the next time someone tells you how much they appreciated a library book, take the time to ask why and then jot that down for future encouragement (or the annual report.)
By documenting the value of your library others may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.