Study Suggests Library Dollars Spent Corrolate with Grant Income

Norman Oder, Study at UIUC Suggests $4.38 in Grant Income for Each Library Dollar, Library Journal, 1/22/2009

While return on investment (ROI) studies have become common in the public library arena, a pioneering ROI case study involving the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC) suggests that each dollar invested in the library in 2006 returns $4.38 in grant income. The study, while limited in scope and arguably in need of refinement, has spurred research at several other universities worldwide.

The study, University investment in the library: What’s the return?, was sponsored by Elsevier, whose staffers in 2006 had begun to notice that university administrators were increasingly asking about research performance measurement, cost justification, and return on investment. At a North American Library Advisory Board (NALAB) meeting, Elsevier proposed the idea of doing a case study and Paula Kaufman, UIUC’s University Librarian, volunteered, according to Elsevier VP Chrysanne Lowe.

The study was led by Judy Luther, President, Informed Strategies, with input from project advisor Carol Tenopir, professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (and an LJ columnist) and Elsevier’s Lowe and Kira Cooper. It was inspired by an article by Roger Strouse, VP and Lead Analyst with Outsell Inc., who described how corporate and government libraries save users time and help generate income with library resources.