TCO

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Total cost of ownership, or TCO, is a business concept that’s been around for about 20 years now, but it’s an idea that librarians have understood informally for centuries. When a patron loses a book, most libraries charge more than the cover price of the book, because the cover price doesn’t include the cost of ordering, processing and cataloging the book. The staff time involved in getting that book into the system is part of the TCO of that book. If you look out even further, there are costs related to shelf space, repairs, circulation, reshelving it and deaccessioning.

The Costs and Benefits of Technology

We’ve all been exhilarated at some point by the impact of technology on our lives and our libraries, but at other times computers feel like a huge, unfunded mandate. In the last ten or fifteen years, libraries have become the biggest provider of free computer resources in the country (except for public schools). But rather than acknowledge this shift where it matters the most, local and state governments have been slashing library budgets. In order to push back, we need to emphasize the true costs of technology, as well as the true benefits.

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