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Illinois Library Association

Collected here are some the studies on the economic benefits of libraries, art organizations, and educational institutions.  Several state library associations have used these studies to successfully receive major funding increases through their respectively legislative bodies.  In 2005-2007, ILA explored the possibility of conducting a similar study in Illinois.


New Studies

Branches of Opportunity.  Published 2013.
New York City's public libraries are serving more people in more ways than ever before, and have become an increasingly critical part of the city's human capital system; but they have been undervalued by policymakers and face growing threats in today's digital age.  This report is published by the Center for an Urban Future, a New York City-based think tank that fuses journalistic reporting techniques with traditional policy analysis to produce in-depth reports and workable policy solutions on the critical issues facing our cities.  Please click to download the report as a PDF.

Texas Public Libraries:  Economic Benefits and Return on Investment.  Published December 2012.
Did you know that for every $1.00 invested in public libraries around the state, Texans receive  $4.42 worth of library services and value in return?  Or that Texas public libraries provide over $2.4 billion dollars in economic benefit statewide?  Get more useful facts and information from the 2013 study Texas Public Libraries:  Economic Benefits and Return on Investment.

Libraries are encouraged to share the wealth of information the report provides with their local community.  Highlights of the report include many financial statistics, a survey of library directors, and estimated market values for various library services.  The study was prepared for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Texas, Austin.

 

Academic Study

Stop the Madness:  The Insanity of ROI and the Need for New Qualitative Measures of Academic Library Success.  Paper from ACRL’s 2011 conference in Philadelphia.
James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University.  Please click to download the report as a PDF.

 

Towards Demonmstarting Value:  Measuring the Contributions of Library Collections to University Research and Teaching Goals.  Paper from ACRL’s 2011 conference in Philadelphia.
Denise Pan, Gabrielle Wiersma, and Yem Fong.  Paper click to download the report as a PDF.

 

Results of the Illinois Return on Investment Study.  Published 2008.
Paula T. Kaufman, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University administrators are asking library directors to demonstrate their library's value to the institution in easily articulated quantitative terms that focus on outputs rather than on traditionally reported input measures.  This paper reports on a study undertaken at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that sought to measure the return on the university's investment in its library. The study sought to develop a quantitative measure that recognizes the library's value in supporting the university's strategic goals, using grant income generated by faculty using library materials.  It also sought to confirm the benefits of using electronic resources and the resulting impact on productivity over a 10-year period.  The results of this study, which is believed to be the first of its kind, represent only one piece of the answer to the challenge of representing the university's total return from its investment in its library.

 

National Study

Library Valuation Assessment Stresses Sharing National Agenda.  Published 2007.
The attached new report from the Americans for Libraries (ALC), "Worth Their Weight: An Assessment of the Evolving Field of Library Valuation," takes a close look at the growing effort to quantify the value of libraries, as exemplified in 17 valuation and impact studies summarized, and points toward better analysis in the future.  The project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  "While the filed of library evaluation is still young, we have observed several salient trends," write coauthors Susan Imholz, consultant to ALC on the Gates Initiative, and Jennifer Weil Arns, University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science.

 

Statewide Studies

Colorado Study:
Instead of conducting a single return on investment study for the state's public libraries, Colorado's project "Public Libraries - A Wise Investment" instead conducted eight studies of representative library districts throughout the state in 2006 and produced eight separate reports.  The site also includes a ROI calculator for other libraries to use.  Libraries were to initially to select one of the eight library studies for a calculation applying derived formulas.

A subsequent final report suggests the median of the eight results ($4.99) as a statewide figure.  The study provides a good comparison of the various state and regional studies as well as an explanation and contrast of Contingent Valuation method to the Market Valuation method of conducting studies.

Florida Study:
Taxpayer Return on Investment in Florida Public Libraries: Summary Report, a study prepared for the State Library and Archives of Florida through the collaborative efforts of Jose-Marie Griffiths (University of Pittsburgh and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill); Donald W. King and Christinger Tomer (University of Pittsburgh); and Thomas Lynch and Julie Harrington (Florida State University), September 2004.

Indiana Study:
The Indiana State Library commissioned the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business to produce gthe 2007 The Economic Impact of Libraries in Indiana.  "In contrast to most other studies that have attempted to measure the economic impact of public libraries, this study also focused on the role that public libraries play in supporting business and economic development in their communities."  They also provide an Excel-based Library Valuation Calculator.

Pennsylvania Study:
Taxpayer Return-on-Investment (ROI) in Pennsylvania Public Libraries (September 2006) (January 2007), a study prepared for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by The School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina.

South Carolina Study:
The Economic Impact of Public Libraries on South Carolina, a study prepared for the University of South Carolina by Daniel D. Barron, Robert V. Williams, Stephen Bajjaly, Jennifer Arns, Steven Wilson of The School of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina, January 2005.  Links to full report, executive summary, and brochure.

Vermont Study:
The Economic Value of Vermont's Public Libraries 2006-2007, a report prepared by Marianne Kotch, Director Public Library Support Services, State of Vermont Department of Libraries, revised February 2007.

Wisconsin Surveys:
The Wisconsin Library User (and Non-User): Outcomes of Statewide Surveys, studies conducted in 2003 and 2007 for the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium by Morrill Solutions.

Regional and Local Studies

Charlotte, N.C.:  Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Study:
Expanding Minds, Empowering Individuals, and Enriching Our Community:  A Return on Investment Study of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library 2010.

Philadelphia, Pa.:
The Economic Value of The Free Library In Philadelphia, a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government to quantify the library's contribution to the regional economy, 2010.

San Francisco, Calif. Study:
Providing for Knowledge, Growth, and Prosperity:  A Benefit Study of the San Francisco Public Library, sponsored by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, 2007.

Saint Louis, Mo. Study:
Placing a Value on Public Library Services, a study by Glen E. Holt, Donald Elliott, and Amonia Moore to apply economic measurements to value public investment in library services, 1999.

Southwestern Ohio Study:
Value For Money: Southwestern Ohio's Return from Investment in Public Libraries, involved nine libraries serving four counties in the southwest region of Ohio, conducted by Levin, Driscoll & Fleeter of Columbus, Ohio, released November 29, 2006.

Suffolk County New York Regional Studies:
Placing an Economic Value on the Services of Public Libraries in Suffolk County, New York
The Economic Value of the Middle Country Public Library In Suffolk County, New York
reports prepared by Dr. Pearl M. Kamer, Chief Economist Long Island Association, Inc., 2005-06.

Pittsburgh, Pa. Study:
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Economic Impact Study, a report prepared by the Carnegie Mellon University Center for Economic Development for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh through donations from the ALCOA Foundation and Eden Hall Foundation, April 2006.

Urban Institute Study
Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development shows the specific ways local governments, agencies, and libraries are key to building the local economic base.  Released January 11, 2007.