The health and wellbeing benefits of public libraries

Daniel Fujiwara Ricky Lawton Susana Mourato March 2015 “Executive Summary 1. Background and objectives of the study In 2014, Arts Council England commissioned SImetrica to conduct a study to value the health and wellbeing benefits of public libraries. Libraries have an important role in society as providers of a range of services from book-lending and computer access to children’s activities, training courses and meeting space. But understanding the value of libraries is a complex issue due to the wide-ranging services that libraries provide and the inherently non-market nature of these services (most are free at the point of use). This study looks at the value of the health and wellbeing benefits of library engagement measured through economic value, using methods that are consistent with the HM Treasury Green Book guidance. There are two key research aims of the study. 1. The value of engagement in library services in terms of the impact on people’s overall quality of life. This is measured through the contingent valuation (CV) method. A large CV study with around 2,000 respondents is used to ask people directly their willingness to pay (WTP) for library services as represented by paying additional council tax. The values from the CV study represent the value associated with improved wellbeing due to library services. Technically speaking, this represents the primary benefits of library services. Primary benefits are those that accrue directly to the individual (ie the impact on their wellbeing). We look at the value of services in libraries in England and how this value differs by service type and the socio-demographic characteristics of the individual. We also look at what factors drive the reported values, such as socio-demographic factors and aspects of service use. This CV study fills an important gap in the literature. Previous related studies on libraries in England have sought to place values on individual institutions, such as the British Library (Pung et al., 2004) and Bolton libraries (Jura Consultants, 2005), or have examined the value associated with booklending and reading services (eg Morris et al., 2002). As far as we are aware, it is the first valuation of the broad range of services that are offered by libraries in England. 2. The value to society of the health benefits of library services. Libraries may make a contribution to society though their impacts on health. We look at the potential savings due to reductions in medical service usage as a result of improvements in general health from library service usage. This is estimated using exchequer cost savings estimates. The aim is to add to the evidence on libraries and health costs, which BOP Consulting (2014) recognises as being weak in some areas in its evidence review. Exchequer cost savings are known as secondary benefits. They relate to impacts that benefit society more widely which at some point may be an indirect benefit to the individual as well. This mainly encompasses impacts on the economy and public purse. These are benefits because they could lead to reduced public spending on health which could lead to lower tax rates or shifts in resources to other important policy areas. These types of benefits are often also known as the economic contribution. This forms one element of overall economic value. Economic value is the approach taken in the HM Treasury Green Book and Business Case model. A full review of the literature can be found in the main paper.” Stephen

Designing Libraries for Research Collaboration in the Network World: An Exploratory Study

Technology in higher education and research are causing libraries to reevaluate the services they offer. Librarians are moving into "higher end support" and adopting new service models. The design of an organization can determine whether it achieves its mission under particular conditions. The present study explores how libraries in 24 leading UK research universities are organizing resources and services to support the research enterprise. Qualitative data were collected from institutional websites and other public domain sources. The results show new functional roles complementing traditional subject liaisons. The findings confirm and extend prior work and are being used to design a large scale international survey.

Impact of School Libraries on Learning: Critical Review of Published Evidence to Inform the Scottish Education Community

The report examines the evidence that school libraries have on learning and skill development. The study by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) covers the review of UK and international evidence. The material, published since 2001, links school libraries to educational achievement. The results will inform SLIC school libraries in secondary education in Scotland.

Challenges to Collaboration

The article focuses on the challenges of collaboration in school library programs. It states that the study about exemplary school libraries by Queen's University and People for Education affirmed that collaborative teaching is a critical activity in Level 3 programs. It mentions the challenges to collaboration and the ways to overcome it. Moreover, research shows that test scores are higher in schools in which teacher-librarian and classroom teacher collaborate to measure learning experiences.


The article focuses on the move of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian School Libraries Association (ASLA) to raise the profile of teacher librarians. It is stated that the groups work towards the promotion of school libraries and teacher librarians. It notes the trends in research revealing the pressures on their ability to develop literacy. The ALIA representative vacancy and calls for expressions of interest are included.


The article offers news briefs related to teacher librarians in East Asia including the 2nd World Chinese Teacher-Librarian Forum in Taiwan which focuses on learning school library, selection of new committee members in Hong Kong Teacher Librarians' Association (HKTLA) during the annual general meeting (AGM), and research which centers on curriculum development on library service and teacher librarians in Hong Kong secondary school.


The author discusses the significance of school libraries in Australia. She believes that school libraries do provide a difference to the educational outcome of students, citing evidence from international and national research which indicates the difference school libraries make including to literary results, to inquiry based learnings, and to staff professional learning. The lack of up-to-date information of personnel in the departments overseeing the educational system is also mentioned.

New research reveals school libraries hovering on poverty line

The article presents a study which investigates the need of critical skills development in information and reading literacy among school children in Australia. Result shows that 50% of Australian school libraries are trying to do their duty on an annual materials budget of under 10, 000 dollars annually while teacher librarians are spending time outside the school library. Researchers concluded that teacher librarian tried to bring skills and expertise to educate Australians' school children.

Factors that support the development of exemplary school library programs

This paper will examine a wide range of studies related to the factors that support the development of exemplary school library programs and then focus on the context for Ontario, Canada. In 2003, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (as cited in IASL, 2008) reviewed research studies to answer the question "What effects do school libraries have on student achievement?" and they concluded that "school library characteristics may account for up to 8 percent of the variance in reading-related test scores" [emphasis added] (p. 1). Consequently, it is important to identify the characteristics that make a school library exemplary although they are not always indicative of student achievement and learning.

Valuing the impact of the teacher librarian from an evidence base

Evidence-based practice as it applies to the Library and Information (LIS) sector and in particular teacher librarians is the focus of this research investigation. The context for this research is Australian school libraries and teacher librarians. This is a research in progress and the report here will include some very early findings and lessons learned from the initial pilot study. The contributions of this research will be in developing a framework for the library and information sector with a particular application for teacher librarians. Providing meaningful evidence of work practices that demonstrate contributions to the schools goals and mission statements in conjunction with contributions to student academic, social and cultural achievements are crucial for the future of the teacher librarian.


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