Freedom to Read

British valuation of library services

One of the most notable examples of a CVM [contingent valuation method] application was undertaken by consultants employed by the British Library, who found that the overall benefit of its services to the British public was around 4.4 times the funding the library recieves from the government. (p.440-1)

Added 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. For homes between ¼ and ½ mile of a Library, the additional value is $650.Libraries are responsible for $698 million in home values in Philadelphia. That’s an increase in home values that homeowners can borrow against to finance education, home improvements and other types of spending.The additional home values generated by proximity to a Library produce an additional $18.5 million in property taxes to the City and School District each year. Under a scenario of accurate and timely assessments, this is how much property tax revenue could be lost per year if all libraries were closed.

Businesses couldn't have done it without the library

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. (p.5)

Economic value of library enhanced business development

The economic value of the Library services that help Philadelphians develop or enhance their own businesses totals $3.8 million for FY10, comprised of:$2.9 million in business development online and database activities$819,285 in business development book-reading & lending$55,385 in business development programming(p.5)

Library has direct impact on finding jobs

Fels estimates that 979 Philadelphians found jobs directly as a result of the resources provided by the Library in FY10. (p.5)

Economic value of workforce development

The economic value of the Library services that help Philadelphians locate job opportunities and develop career skills totals $6 million for FY10, comprised of:$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(p.5)

Economic Value of Literacy

The economic value of the Library services that help Philadelphians learn to read and acquire working skills totals $21.8 million for FY10, comprised of:$18.4 million in literacy-related reading & lending$2.6 million in literacy related programming$818,000 in literacy-related online activities(p.5)

Employment and entrepreneurship

Activities related to employment were the third highest reported use for library computer users, with 40 percent of the respondents indicating use in this area. In addition, 7 percent of the users used the library for activities related to starting or managing a business of their own.Results from the study show that libraries are serving as an important supplement to local and federal agencies focused on employment activities, by providing access to needed services in a setting that can offer support and access to all members of the community. In the current economy, these services are making a difference in the lives of individuals and their families across the nation.In addition to finding actual jobs, people reported using the library’s online resources for preparatory steps such as creating resumes, researching job information, submitting applications online, and receiving training for job-related skills. Those who are employed use the library to conduct work, and entrepreneurs and small business owners use the library’s computer resources for writing business plans, finding investors, marketing, and business administration. (p.71-2)


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