I wasn't going to post about this report for a while as I know that ALIA want to do a bit of a splash about it, but I note that it has been picked up by APO.org.au (Australian Policy Online). So now that it is out there I'm really keen to share with you the report entitled National Welfare & Economic Contributions of Public Libraries.
The report uses known research methods to measure the libraries' net contribution to community welfare and the economic activity induced by public library operations.
One of the key findings of the report is that for every $1 spent on public libraries $3 of benefit is derived by the community. And as the annual spend on public libraries is just over $1Bn then the benefit is approximately $3Bn. In terms of investment value, this is considered a sound investment by the community.
The company doing the work initially worked in Victoria and Queensland to develop their methodology and do some in-depth research including interviewing members of the public. A few of us from other States, having seen the outcome asked ALIA if they were prepared to auspice turning this study into an national one. So for not a lot of money the company did some analysis of the performance statistics of all other States and Territories and used these figures to produce the report. They did not replicate all of the work done in Victoria or Queensland, as this would have been considerably more expensive. However for the purposes of getting some high level information I believe that the report is invaluable.
It is short, easily readable & very useful to quote to decision makers etc. It can be found on the ALIA website here.
State Library Services