Wednesday, August 10, 2011
From US & World News, Karen Muller writes:
We all know that Libraries are the smartest investment. Study after study shows that for every dollar invested by a community in library services, $2.38 or $4.48, or even $6.54 in economic benefits are returned to the community. Another measure of the value of libraries is the individualized calculation provided by ROI calculators, allowing a library user to determine how much is saved by using the library.
One key use of libraries and perhaps the most documented is how many books and other materials are borrowed. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) conducts an annual survey of the country 9,200+ public libraries. IMLS gathers data on the general population characteristics of the library district, how much is spent on library services, and how much the library is used, both in absolute numbers, as well as on a per capita basis. Overall, the amount of library circulation is impressive: In 2008, America's public libraries circulated 2.2 billion books, or 7.7 per capita, based on the population of the legal service area for the libraries.
For a family of four, at $20 a book, the smartest readers are saving over $4,700 a year by using their library—and that’s before they take advantage of other services like computer access, programs at the library, database access, or any of the other services offered. On Amazon's list of the 20 top-ranked best-read cities, Salt Lake City Public Library and Salt Lake County Library ranked 7th.