Midwestern Region

Library partnerships have value

Because community engagement has value, involvement of library volunteers from the communities includes benefits for volunteers in terms of enhancing their confidence, skills and levels of employability.

Libraries have value to neighborhoods

People prefer to live near a public library if they have a choice, and often perceive library access as part of an enhanced quality of life, although it is rarely a direct factor in home purchase decision making.

Proximity to the library has value

Users who stop at the library while completing a longer list of errands report "halo" spending at firms and establishments close to the library. Although this spending is not part of an economic impact statement of Minnesota's public libraries, it is also true that proximity to a library increases spending for those businesses located near the library.

The library facility as a gathering place has value

This includes the phenomenon known as the "living room" experience, meeting and conference rooms available, all-inclusive, safe and friendly environment, and a unique forum for social networking, book clubs and reading groups.

The expertise of the library staff has value.

Staff include knowledgeable reference librarians and other staff, class instructors, volunteers, and people committed to maintaining the library.

The technology for use in the library has value.

This includes computers and Internet access, specialized equipment for the disabled, online content, specialized databases, which possibly constitutes the only means of access for lower income families and individuals.

The educational programs and materials, as well as the educational mission of the library have value.

This includes the encouragement for young people to read (and the role libraries play in creating and cultivating readers), the constantly growing collection of resources and materials, the fact that everyone is welcome, and literacy programs.

Services of the library have value.

These include interlibrary loans, classes and special programs, availability of home delivery, services for the disabled, assistance with resumes and job searches, tax forms, children's programs, bookmobiles.

The collection of materials in the library has value.

Minnesota's public libraries are like libraries in other states in that they are valued for providing free access to educational and entertainment materials, are an open and welcoming gathering place, and for providing resources to those who would otherwise be unable to afford them. A typical list of what comprises Minnesota library collections and downloads can include books and periodicals, professional journals, travel materials, audio books, DVDs, videos, music, and business resources.

Public Library Stakeholders

stakeholders, inside and outside the library represent library users with children or grandchildren; employees from the community at large, who check out materials for use at their workplace, as well as job seekers; library users who contact public library reference libraries for information; and technology users with a need for Internet access.

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