Determination of Unit Costs for Library Services

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ACRL Publications

As with other public service activities, inflationary trends and public opinion provide a clear mandate for attempts to control the increasing costs of providing library services. Cost control necessarily requires knowledge of the quantities and sources of costs. A methodology; known as microcosting, for identifying the unit costs of providing specific services is presented here. The method is designed to enable library managers to identify at a detailed level the resources consumed in providing a particular service. This information provides''a quantitative basis for and a monitor of library management decisions. To illustrate the use of the methodology, it is applied to the determination of the unit costs of tracking overdue materials at a major university library.

Nachlas, J. A., Pierce, A. R. (1979). Determination of unit costs for library services. College and Research Libraries, 40(3), 240-247.