Adding Value to Libraries, Archives, and Museums: Harnessing the Force That Drives Your Organization’s Future. By Joseph R. Matthews. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2016. Paper $70 (ISBN 978-1-4408-4288-7).

Value in libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural organizations has traditionally been centered on collections and services. Today’s libraries are looking at new ways to make their operations valuable to their patrons. Adding Value is geared toward library managers and administrators focusing on understanding, identifying, planning, and implementing services with an eye toward new definitions of value.

Faced with constant change and increasing demands, libraries and similar institutions are under pressure to justify their existence. As author Joseph Matthews states, “perhaps it would be prudent to explore what forces in our society, and in the field of information technology specifically, are affecting our lives and our treasured institutions of libraries, museums, galleries, and archives, and discover how organizations need to change in order to add value for their customers” (xiii). How do libraries avoid drifting into obsolescence? What do libraries do uniquely well to serve patron needs?

Matthews, a library consultant and instructor at the School of Library Information Science at San Jose State University, ably differentiates between “value” and “adding value” in the nonprofit sector in the context of historical and theoretical conceptions of value. His “5 C’s” form a “Value-Added Diamond” of content, context, connection, collaboration, and community. Each facet is explained thoroughly in individual chapters, and he includes specific strategies for adding value to each. For example, the “Content” chapter covers digitization, user-contributed content, information portals, self-publishing, and library-provided social content. “Connection” discusses embedded librarians, repurposing space, makerspaces, and community publishing portals. Another useful feature is the “Checklist for Adding Value” in each of these five chapters, which enable the reader to quickly assess an organization’s current status in the development of each value-added facet.

This book’s many checklists, examples, case studies, screenshots, illustrations, charts, and tables are particularly valuable, as are the lists of further reading at the end of each chapter. Chapter 9, “Collaboration in Libraries, Museums, and Archives,” offers real-world examples of value-added activities from international institutions, including the British Library, University College London, the National Library of Finland, the New York Public Library, and others. The separate author and subject indexes help the reader research particular theories and move directly to real-world models and examples. Recommended for academic, public, and museum libraries.—Jennifer A. Bartlett, Head of Reference Services, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky


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