Life cycle costs of library collections: Creation of effective performance and cost metrics for library resources

Stephen R. Lawrence, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Keith H. Brigham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

An important issue for research librarians is the life cycle cost of acquiring and maintaining a collection. While purchase costs are easy to identify, associated acquisition, cataloging, circulation, and maintenance expenses are difficult to measure and attribute to specific collections. This paper develops a methodology to determine the life cycle costs of collections based on readily available statistical data collected annually by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). ARL cost data (e.g., salaries and wages, materials expenditures, and operating expenses) for a specific library are allocated to collections (e.g., manuscripts, serials, and microforms) based on the size of the collection and its relative space requirements. By aggregating allocated costs, total life cycle costs for a collection can be estimated. Results of this research indicate that life cycle costs of collections are many multiples of their purchase costs. Results further suggest that the life cycle costs of monograph collections overwhelm the costs of other collections in research libraries - the cost structure of a research library is largely driven by its monograph collection. These results should prove useful in efforts to control costs and improve performance in research libraries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-550
Number of pages10
JournalCollege and Research Libraries
Volume62
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2001

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Life cycle costs of library collections: Creation of effective performance and cost metrics for library resources'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this