ABSTRACT

In 1936, Louis R. Wilson predicted that in ten years’ time libraries would have methods in place for determining the costs of services and would be able to use them to defend their work (Lopez, 1973). It was a grand thought; however, here at the dawn of the new millennium we still do not have a clear idea of what reference services cost and no standard costing model that libraries can adopt to collect this data in a uniform way. The proliferation of electronic resources and the development of digital reference services have further complicated the problem of how to determine what it costs to deliver reference services. Nonetheless, the perceived benefits of understanding the cost of providing these services remain much the same.