Explanation and Values for Library Use Value Calculator

Updated figures, July 2014

This chart provides background for estimated or average costs for library resources and services.
For example, we used an average between hardcover and paperback prices for adult and childrens books from online retailers to arrive at average prices for those categories.  We also relied on the Library and Book Trade Almanac for other print material prices.

While the cost of many library resources has remained flat or decreased slightly since 2009, the cost of magazines and newspapers has increased substantially.


Some values may vary from area to area. If you would like to supply your own values, please feel free to edit the Library Use Value Calculator and to download the spreadsheet for edits to meet your own local needs.

How to customize and use on your local library web site.

A list of estimated or average Maine library services with explanation
Item Estimated Retail Value Values Explained
Book Borrowed $18.00 Average cost of hardcover for adults
Paperback Book Borrowed $12.00 Average cost of paperback for adults
Children Book Borrowed $10.00 Average cost of hardcover for children
Audiobooks Borrowed $25.00 Average cost to purchase an audio book
Interlibrary Loan Requests $30.00 Average national cost for loans
eBooks/Audiobooks Downloaded $8.00 Average cost to download an e-book/audiobook
Magazine Borrowed $5.00 Average cost to purchase a popular periodical issue
Video Borrowed $17.00 Average cost to purchase a popular video
CDs Borrowed $22.00 Average cost to purchase a a CD.
Museum Pass Borrowed $20.00 Sample museum admission for two
Magazine/Newspaper Use in Library $7.50 Average monthly cost of a popular magazines/newspapers issue
Meeting Room Use per Hour $50.00 Estimate
Auditorium Use per Hour $250.00 Estimate
Program/Class Attended - Adult $14.00 Estimate
Program Attended - Children $11.50 Estimate
Computer Use per Hour e.g., Internet and MS Word per hour $12.00 Sample hourly rate at internet cafes for people using their computers, not their own laptops.
Reference Questions Asked $15.00 Estimated cost per question

Based initially on the calculator from Massachusetts Library Association.