NCHCPL Reader

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Library Offers Outstanding Return on Investment

Looking for a solid investment? Try your local library. Results from a recent study show that New Castle-Henry County Public Library provides a 674% return on investment for its community.

In exchange for the $822,608 the library receives from property taxes for operating expenses, the library provides services worth $5,548,704. In other words, the library provides $6.74 worth of materials and services for every $1 received.

In 2004, fiction books for adults were circulated $41,472 times. The 2004 Bowker Annual average price for fiction books is $24.81, which means that if library patrons would have purchased the borrowed books, it would have cost them $1,028,920. Children's books are also popular at the library, with 88,394 books circulating last year alone. If those same books were purchased, using the same price source as the adult fiction, the cost would have been $1,706,888.

Here are some other estimated values of services and materials offered by the library:
  • Videotapes & DVDs - $302,739
  • Audiobooks - $277,636
  • Music CDs- $162,030
  • Magazines - $31,338
  • Library programs - $11,973
  • Computers with Internet access - $748,800

Of course, the true value of the library can never be calculated. How can you put a price tag on a child's discoveries through reading? Or finding your family's history? Or reading a classic for the first time? Some things remain outside the realm of dollars and cents. The complete library experience is one of them.

--excerpt from an article by Christy Ragle in the New Castle Courier Times

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