Spreadsheets for Librarians
Getting Results with Excel and Google Sheets
by Bruce White
January 2021, 305pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-6931-0
$50, £38, 44€, A68
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6932-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Learn how to use spreadsheets for dozens of purposes in public, school, university, and special libraries.

Work smarter and save time with the librarian’s guide to the hidden-in-plain-sight secrets of Excel, Sheets, and other types of spreadsheets.

While some librarians have become very skilled at using the full power of Excel and Sheets to turn data into useful and valuable information, for many librarians the relevance of spreadsheets—and how to use them—is not necessarily obvious.

This book demystifies Excel and other spreadsheets. Starting from basic concepts, the book progresses to advanced implementations important to librarians in such areas as collection management, including evaluation and benchmarking; research assessment through the creation of sophisticated bibliometric measures; and library design based on an analysis of patron behavior or the creation of a keyword map of physical collections. Real-life examples highlight a variety of techniques and shortcuts that can be immediately applied to libraries of all kinds.

Spreadsheets for Librarians is a book for the desk, not only the library shelves. No prior knowledge of spreadsheets is needed, and readers can expect to learn skills that will enhance their reputation as information and data professionals.


  • Illustrates spreadsheet techniques that are immediately applicable in a wide variety of library contexts
  • Explains the potential of readily available data as a means to enhance individual and institutional performance in the library and information sector
  • Helps librarians think like data and information specialists
  • Showcases skills that are portable and independent of more narrowly-focused software packages
  • Shows how to communicate more effectively with IT specialists
Bruce White is copyright and open access advisor at Massey University, New Zealand. He has worked in both public and university libraries, and his career has spanned the transition from an almost exclusively print-based library environment to a largely electronic one. He has written extensively on the role of libraries in education and scholarly research. His publications cover such areas as information literacy, academic search engines, open access and institutional repositories, distance library service, library metrics and bibliometrics and data-supported collection management. He has published in Library Review, College and Research Libraries, and New Zealand Library and Information Management Journal.


"White’s writing style brings clarity and humor to the dry, technical task of mastering spreadsheets. Despite the library-specific examples, this offering will also appeal to other professionals looking for strategies to increase efficiency in their work."—Library Journal, April 1, 2021

"With clear explanations and library-work relevance, this perennially insightful guide will be especially helpful to those working remotely."—American Libraries, May 3, 2021

"Conversational in tone but still authoritative, this is a must-have guide for librarians in a wide range of roles who want to work smarter."—Booklist Online, May 21, 2021

"Experienced users of Excel and other spreadsheets will find this book useful in going to the next level."—Tony Greiner, Librarian, Portland Community College, Oregon, and co-author, Analyzing Library Collection Use with Excel

"In this instructive and accessible text, Bruce White enthusiastically champions the use of Excel by librarians, focusing on how they can use this powerful application to help make many of their day-to-day processes more efficient and their decision-making better informed. Illustrated by well-worked and relevant examples from a range of types of library and information services, White walks readers step-by-step through the basics of navigating around and setting up spreadsheets, through using formulas, on to pivot tables and beyond. For both new and more experienced users, this book will be of great support to librarians in their use of spreadsheets for a wide variety of data management, analysis, and visualization purposes."—Anne Goulding, Professor of Library and Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington
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