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An Infopeople Online Learning Course

October 28th, 2014 12:00 PM
November 24th, 2014 4:30 PM

Course Instructor: Jennifer Sweeney

Would you like to make more accurate cost estimates when writing grant proposals? Trying to decide if a resource’s value justifies the costs? Need data to help determine the value of the library’s services? Cost analysis can help.

In this course, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of cost analysis
  • How to develop bottom-up cost estimates for library programs and grants
  • How to determine cost effectiveness of library resources and services
  • The pros and cons of contingent valuation

This intended audience for this course is librarians, managers, and staff who develop budgets or cost estimates for library programs, operations, and services. After completion of this course you will have a better understanding of how to use cost analysis to estimate, calculate, and measure library costs and benefits.

Course Description: Through assignments and discussions, you will develop a deeper understanding of ways in which cost analysis can be used in libraries. During the four-week course, you will complete worksheets, read case studies, and apply techniques to your own library programs and services. The instructor will provide resources, best practices, and useful tips and techniques that can be applied immediately. You will be encouraged to ask questions and participate in discussions with others.

Course Outline: When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:

  • Week 1: Basic Concepts in Cost Analysis
    • Understand the basics of cost analysis.
    • Describe how and why libraries can use cost analysis.
    • Define basic terms and concepts in cost analysis and estimating, such as depreciation, overhead, contingent valuation, capital costs, and discount rate.
  • Week 2: Estimating Costs for Projects and Grants
    • Explain the purpose of bottom-up cost estimating
    • Utilize a step-by-step approach to develop a cost study for a typical library project
    • Develop a cost estimate for a grant project
  • Week 3: Estimating Costs of Electronic Resources and Services
    • Identify emerging issues for electronic resources and services costing
    • Develop a cost study for an electronic resource
    Week 4: Cost Benefit Analysis
    • Describe contingent valuation and consumer surplus approaches to calculating a library’s value to a community
    • Articulate the limitations of contingent valuation and return on investment analyses

    Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2½ hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains readings and various options for assignments, discussions, or online meetings. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.

    Who Should Take This Course: Branch managers, Department heads, Business managers, Outreach staff, Grant seekers

    Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at:

    Learner Requirements: Knowledge of Excel or other spreadsheet applications.

    After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.

    Keywords: Administration, Grant writing and fundraising, Leadership, Project planning and management, Professional development and efficiency, Supervision and management