Wednesday, July 2, 2008
What is Your Public Library Worth?
Have you ever thought about the dollar value of your public library services? It turns out that library service is one of the very best investments you can make! Based on statistics from its fiscal year just ended on June 30, Mount Clemens Public Library returned more than $3,333,054 in value to the taxpayers of the library district over the past year. Since the library's operating budget during that time was approximately $1.6 million, that means that for every dollar that the taxpayers invested in library services, the library returned more than two dollars in goods and services to the community. An investment that doubles your money in one year is worth keeping!
Here's how the calculation is made: an average retail (or market) price is assigned to items the library offers to the community, including new books, DVDs, talking books, compact discs, magazines, museum passes, computer services, meeting room use, and public programs. These prices are multiplied by the number of times the library provided each of these items or services during the year, and then totaled. For example, the library checked out 35,492 movies on DVD or tape last year; at an average retail cost of $22 each, the value of that service is $780,824; the library also provided 335 free museum admission passes at an average cost of $20 each, for a value of service of $6700.
Unfortunately, the calculator cannot take into consideration some of the services offered by the library that are less tangible and more difficult to quantify. The value of the library staff who assist job seekers in formatting their resumes, advise parents of reluctant readers about books that will entice their children to read, and provide hundreds of similar reference and advisory services every week for library users of all ages cannot be defined with a dollar value.
In these difficult economic times, we invite you to take advantage of the great bargain that your library represents. And don't forget what Malcolm Forbes once said:
“The richest person in the world - in fact all the riches in the world - couldn't provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library."