A new independent study recently revealed as much as a 400% return on taxpayers’ investment for local Santa Clara County
Library District (SCCLD) residents. Estimating the value of library services to its patrons to be between $83 million and $171.8 million, the study looked at quantifiable services for which the value can be easily measured. These services include the borrowing of materials, ongoing children’s programs, online database searches, and many more. When the value of services was divided by SCCLD’s annual operating expenditures, the results show that for every dollar spent, the community receives $2.50 - $5.17 in direct benefits.
In addition to analysis of these quantifiable benefits, the study also includes interviews with key community stakeholders who identified numerous broader community benefits, such as increased success in school, career, and life resulting from early literacy efforts, as well as improved health outcomes and reduced medical costs to individuals and society. Adding these intangible benefits to the $2.50 to $5.17 per dollar return results in an even higher return on investment.
The study identified five key areas of community benefit that encompassed both the quantifiable and non-quantifiable aspects of library services:
- Enhancing Early Literacy and Youth Education
- Promoting Lifelong Learning and Personal Growth
- Building and Bridging Diverse Communities
- Providing Access to Information and Technology for All
- Supporting Personal Recreation and Quality of Life
Funded by the Cupertino Library Foundation and conducted by BERK, a Seattle based research/consulting firm, the executive summary and the full report are available for download.