Despite consistent usage, 21st century libraries are regularly under pressure to defend and justify their existence to various entities, including administrators, policy makers, legislators, and community citizens. One predominant tactic is to develop quantifiable measures that communicate library value, such as return on investment calculators that demonstrate savings achieved through the use of library collections and services. However, many of these value calculations only consider resources and collections, rather than the labor needed to make those resources accessible. This project uses a critical design approach to investigate ways to communicate the value of professional librarian labor. Through the creation of an interactive, web-based tool that calculates and concretely quantifies the financial value of librarian labor, this work will expose the previously invisible yet important work of librarians, critique the status quo of libraries as resource collections, and offer a new way for libraries to advocate for support.
This project is funded by the Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program at Syracuse University.