• Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    The Economic Value of Library Systems

    An economic study developed by the Free Library of Philadelphia in 2010 is a good starting point for anyone who wants to advocate for their library. The Free Library of Philadelphia summarized four areas where the library makes an impact on its community.

    1. Workforce Development – $6M

    – $2.2 million in career development book-reading & lending
    – $2.1 million in job-finding online activities, including workforce database usage and online job searching/prep
    – $1.7 million job-readiness and workforce-related programming

    The study estimates that 979 Philadelphians found jobs directly as a result of the resources provided by the Library in FY10.

    979 entry-level jobs translates into $30.4 million in earned income in one year (at an average entry-level salary for Philadelphia), generating $1.2 million annually in wage tax revenue for the city

    2. Business Development – $3.8M

    8% of survey respondents report that they could not have started, grown or improved their business without the Free Library, resulting in an estimated 8,630 businesses that benefited from Free Library business development services.

    3. Value to Homes and Neighborhoods. Homes within ¼ mile of a Library are worth, on average, $9,630 more than homes more than ¼ mile from a Library.

    4. Literacy – $21.8M

    – $18.4 million in literacy-related reading & lending
    – $2.6 million in literacy related programming
    – $818,000 in literacy-related online activities

    10% of survey respondents report “ I couldnt have learned to read without the library,” meaning an estimated
    10,788 people attribute their ability to read to the Free Library.

    13% of survey respondents report they taught someone else to read and could not have done it without the Free Library, meaning 14,024 people attribute their being able to teach someone to read to the Library.

    LINK to the STUDY

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    The economic impact of libraries

    Our team is always trying to measure the economic impact of library services. It is notoriously difficult once you get beyond broad benefits and try to pin down the actual numbers.

    A new research report from Australia on the socio-economic impact of libraries, Dollars, Sense and Public Libraries, has been published, commissioned by the library network for the state of Victoria.

    It uses an economic model that gets as close as anyone can to demonstrating the real economic value of public libraries. Its findings will be of interest to public libraries in the USA, UK and beyond. Please use this quantifiable economic data to back up fund raising strategies. Outlining the value of library services is very important to our profession and society.

  • Library Planning Research

    Germaine Greer – her love for the “library as place”

    The value of a library is an important part of the building process. Greer states in her 06.09.10 Arts Comment in the Guardian Newspaper that we have to value library spaces. She proposes – “think of libraries as a cluster of services rather than as buildings; as such they are some of the most beautiful built spaces on earth.”

    Germaine Greer points out that younger people are more comfortable with the library. They don’t have expectations for thousands of books. They just want a space that is modern with power and wireless connectivity.

    The “library as place” concept includes the idea of the library as an Oasis. We support the notion that the library is the best place for literacy classes, language courses and computer literacy classes. We have to continue to rethink the “library as place.” Greer explains that “as the era of the book draws to a close, we must keep our libraries and their contents together as cultural entities in themselves…the core job of a local library is to acquire and conserve letters, diaries, books (especially books with marginalia by local celebrities), plans, minutes, parish records, maps, local newspaper and pamphlets, posers and photographs. In an overcrowded, muzak-infested, video-saturated world, a reading room is an oasis, to which we may all repair, even if it is only to read a newspaper.”


  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    The value of public libraries

    The value of public library service is often overlooked by the community. During the development of a capital campaign to improve the library building, it is very important to communicate the value of the library services.

    One way to generate knowledge about library services and their cost advantages is to use a calculator. The Chelmsford Library developed one online for you to use. Go to: Library Use Value Calculator

    You may use this calculator for survey’s and open discussions with the public. We use this information to learn more about the unique needs of the local culture and the value of the “library as place.” You may use the calculator above to communicate your value and to build an appreciation for all of the services the library provides to your community.