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BULLET Placing a Value on Public Library Services
by
Glen E. Holt, Donald Elliott, and Amonia Moore
MEASUREMENT OF BENEFITS TO BUSINESSES AND SCHOOLS

Estimation of the valuation of benefits to caregivers (primarily pre-schools) and teachers (public and parochial) uses contingent valuation. Teachers were asked to estimate how much their budgets would have to increase to provide the same services for their students if the library did not exist. This is a WTA formulation. Unlike general users, teachers found the WTA formulation easy to answer. They appeared to be knowledgeable about alternatives and the costs of acquiring replacement materials or services.

Estimation of the valuation of benefits to business users was more problematic. Several methods were attempted: replacement services, WTA and WTP. Despite the use of three focus groups to frame the survey questions, actual respondents had difficulty identifying and valuing replacement services. Also, respondents were reluctant to state how much their businesses would be willing to pay in property taxes to support library services. They were somewhat more responsive in replying how much their businesses would have to be compensated to give up library services. Those estimates are reported in the next section.

The resurvey and the decisions about how to estimate the benefits to business users and teachers wrapped up the SLPL Services Valuation Study.

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