Posts Tagged value of library
An excellent opinion article by Susan P. Crawford, “The New Digital Divide” provides a valid reason why Public Libraries, Special and Academic Libraries provide a value in the digital age. For the majority of citizen’s, the only access they have to medical, law, jobs and skills is through a cell phone. The “poor and working class – either cannot afford access or use restricted wireless access as their only connection to the Internet.” Indeed, the “library as place” can offer connection speeds as high as Docsis 2.0 and 3.0 or 105 megabits per second, fast enough to download a music album in three seconds. The library can offer high speed connections when wireless is too slow.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently came out with a study that shows how the divide is affecting economic growth. According to the study, almost 25% of Americans do not have unrestricted access to the Internet. However, roughly 44% of lower income families have some kind of Smart Phones.
The new digital divide can be combated with a new learning center or library environment. The provision of library internet access will enable the community to use real-time video conferencing and virtual classrooms. It can support job creation, higher quality healthcare, better skills and virtual diplomas. The “library as place” is a way to share our resources and build a better future.
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
The economic value of public libraries has been studied in different contexts. For the researcher who is looking to support a building project, the economic value of libraries may need to be shared with your community to build support.
In 2010, the economic value of academic libraries report was released by M. Oakleaf of the iSchool at Syracuse University. This is a good place to look if you are developing a building plan and need to align support on campus.
If you are looking for a video that discusses why libraries matter – John Grisham on the Value of Libraries and Librarians –