Friday, February 21, 2014

Libraries produce economic gains.

When facing budget shortfalls, public libraries are often among the first to be put on the chopping block and receive cuts in funding. This is a mistake. The economic gains of public libraries as a whole often far surpass the spending needed to maintain them.

Did you know...

  • In 2011, spending by Texas public libraries totaled $544.9 million, but economic benefits topped $2.407 billion? That's $4.42 return on investment (ROI). [1]
  • The University of Illinois determined that it's library expenditures in 2006 resulted $4.38 ROI, which was based on the entire library budget. If only collections expenditures were considered the ROI would've been around $12. [2] 
  • A 2009 report from Colorado (using data from 2006) looked at eight library systems, chosen at random, from metro and non-metro, urban, suburban and rural communities. All libraries showed positive ROI, the lowest being $428 and the highest being $31.07 (an outlier). The median ROI was $4.99. [3]
  • A 2004 report out of Florida calculated Florida public libraries' ROI at $6.54. [4] A 2010 report estimated the ROI at 8.32! [5]
These are just a sample of the plentiful data you can find floating around cyberspace. Check out the Illinois Library Association as a resource to start your own search.

I like libraries for what they are, but the economic gains are nothing to sneeze at.


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