The promise of a fresh start is part and parcel of the beginning of a new year, particularly when hardship has darkened your door in the year just past. Although no one in the library community realistically expected their institution’s fiscal standing to magically move from strapped to solvent, a new study adds bottom-line evidence that the return on investment in library service more than justifies the costs.
The first-ever economic impact study about the Philadelphia’s public libraries concludes that the library created more than $30 million worth of economic value to the city in FY2010. Particularly noteworthy is the library’s impact on business development and employment, which has rightfully become an ongoing national concern. Survey respondents reported that they couldn’t have started, sustained, or grown an estimated 8,600 businesses without the resources they accessed at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Direct economic impact: Almost $4 million.