Return On Investment – Prove It

Have you seen the ALA Economic Toolkit?  It’s got lots of handy info from how to develop talking points to managing the media.

Related to talking points…do you know what makes a great talking point?  Hard numbers.  And money.  People remember hard numbers given in a brief format – especially when the numbers carry a dollar sign.  And there is a lucky library that can say this:

“During the last fiscal year, our library was work $59,551,714 to the community.  To find out more about this tremendous return on investment, visit us online…”

That library is the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Illinois, and you can see the webpage they’ve created by visiting

ALA provides a great calculator that’s available in the toolkit and that you can use here.

This is an example of providing great information on what libraries do for communities.  Take a hard look at the numbers your library tracks (and you are tracking, aren’t you???).  From door counts, to circ stats, to reference questions, to program attendance – there are countless ways to creatively combine statistics and financial information to demonstrate what the library is worth to a community.  Think outside the box and don’t just provide the normal info – give it context to community members to whom “circ stats” mean nothing.


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