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.
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.
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 is associated with $16 million in net new spending in Seattle in its first year of operations--equal to $80 million for 5 years, $160 million for 10 years, or $320 million over a 20-year period. Nearby businesses report increases in spending associated with visitors to the Central Library. Increases in the use of Library resources contributes to learning, literacy, business productivity, personal and professional developments, and individual livelihood.
More than 2.3 million tourists are expected to visit the Central Library during its first year of operation, an increase of more than 250% compared to the prior year. Approximately 30% of these visitors--725,000 individuals--are projected to be out-of-town visitors, coming from the Puget Sound region, other states, or other countries. The Library is drawing greater numbers of visitors from a larger radius; these increases in activity drive the economic benefits the Library brings to Seattle. A 1% increase in annual visitors to King County creates $1 billion in new spending statewide over a 25 year period.
Among the findings are indications that the public library: - 49% of business users indicated that they obtained most of the business/research information from their public library - 78% of business users indicated that information obtained from the public library contributed to the success of their business - 59% of personal investors said they obtained the information needed for making investment decisions from their public library - 48% said "definitely" the investment information at the public library had contributed to their financial well-being and 34% said "somewhat"
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)
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)
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)