or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Library Use Value Calculator Updated

   March 1st, 2011

Little Professor calculatorThis post isn't about the current ebook debacle, because Bobbi and Kate are doing a better job than I could.

This is just a quick announcement that I've updated the Library Use Value Calculator - here's a rundown of the changes:

  • Updated costs, in conjunction with staff from the MLA
  • Added lines for ebooks* and music downloads
  • Removed the distinction between magazines/newspapers browsed in library and those checked out (my feeling was, if they used them at all, it counts)
  • Changed some wording and reordered the services to (hopefully) make things more clear - materials at the top, services at the bottom
  • Added additional instructions on how to host or modify the calculator code yourself

I also wanted to add a "Share on Facebook" link, but I haven't tackled that yet. If anyone is looking for a project, let me know.

All of this is available at http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net/librarycalculator. If you already had the calculator embedded in your library website, the updates will take effect automatically.

If anyone has any questions, or needs help with the calculator, please let me know.


*Ironically. Perhaps I need to add more javascript so that if someone enters a number higher than 26, the calculator automatically adds additional copies to the cost.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Responses to “Library Use Value Calculator Updated”

  1. Chris Says:

    Share on Facebook is pretty simple… Add a link such as this:


  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Chris: I was actually thinking about something fancier, like after someone filled out the calculator, they could click a button and post to their Facebook something like, “I saved $600 by using my library – how much do you save?” and it links back to the library website they came from. Or, an app that runs inside of Facebook itself. What’s slowing me down is that I don’t use Facebook.

  3. Chris Says:

    You don’t want to write an app inside of Facebook. They change their APIs every couple months and you end up having to re-write everything.

  4. Pene Says:

    Hi Brian,

    What a great idea. We are having a shot at putting the calcualtor on our blog, which is linked to our facebook, which is linked to our twitter etc.

    The blog is fairly passive as we find most people use favebook and are not using feeds for blogs.

    But we have put it there because we have no web support and are not geeks and so fumble along


    I like the idea you have for linking/sharing on facebook. Keep at it.

    My query is – is there any way the library can collect the data entered by the user of the calculator?

    Keep up the good work. Plse email me when you get time


    ps Gisborne is in New Zealand

  5. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Pene: Currently, data collection isn’t built into the calculator. When I added it to my library’s website, I included an email form that lets people submit their use to us, along with comments. This doesn’t happen very often, and doesn’t capture data like a real-time database would. So far, I don’t have any plans to add that feature, but I’ll keep it in mind for the future.