Impact Studies and Reports
Beyond the general sense that library usage is up everywhere in the country in all sizes of libraries, these studies attempt to attach numbers and statistics to the picture.
From ALA's Office for Research and Statistics:
Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study
Find the most current reports from this multi-year project, which provides an ongoing assessment of public access to computers in libraries. It puts data behind the assertion that libraries are serving as crucial technology hubs for people in need of free Web access, computer training, and assistance finding and using E-Government and job resources.
A Perfect Storm Brewing: Budget Cuts Threaten Library Services at Time of Increased Demand (.pdf; published in January 2010)
In the grip of one of the most severe recessions since the Great Depression, more Americans are turning to their libraries not only for free access to books, magazines, CDs and DVDs, but also for a lifeline to technology training and online resources for employment, continuing education and government resources.
U.S. Public Libraries and E-Government Services (.pdf; published in June 2009)
U.S. public libraries are on the front lines of connecting people with essential government resources – including unemployment benefits, federal and state emergency assistance, tax filing and more.
Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries
A national study conducted by the University of Washington and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Florida: Taxpayer Return on Investment in Florida Public Libraries (2010) assesses the ROI for taxpayers by public libraries in the state.
Iowa: Jan 2009 public library usage survey
The State Library of Iowa shares results of the January 2009 Iowa special survey gathering usage statistics from 42 libraries. Compares checkouts, visits, and computer users for the periods July - December 2007 & 2008.
Kansas: Libraries in Uncertain Economic Times
Workshop delivered by the South Central Kansas Library System (SCKLS) in March 2009 sought answers to these questions:
- How has the current economic climate affected your library service?
- What budget cuts have you already had and what cuts do you anticipate?
- What are you doing to position your library during this economic downturn? Do you have any suggestions?
- What promotions have you done or do you have planned
Pennsylvania: The Economic Value of the Free Library in Philadelphia is the first-ever economic impact study about Philadelphia’s public libraries. Conclusion: the library created more than $30 million worth of economic value to the city in FY2010.
Washington: Public Library Usage Report
Washington’s hard-pressed public libraries are seeing more customer usage during the current economic recession, according to this recent study by the Washington State Library.
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