Sunday, February 18, 2007

What is your library worth to you?

Libraries, like all tax supported entities, are under strict budgeting constraints like no other time in their history. Brooks is facing a less than level-funded budget for FY 2008.
Libraries are not just accepted any more as "public goods" that are funded automatically at the previous year's level. We need to show the value of our services and what these mean in payback for publicly funded institutions. According to some studies we are not only spending taxpayers' funds but are investing these and giving returns to the taxpayer.
Analyses by the University of South Carolina and most recently by the Vermont Department of Libraries have documented the Economic Value of Libraries. Now individuals can estimate this for themselves. The Maine State Library has a Library Use Value Calculator on their web site. With this calculator anyone can input books,audio,movies, magazines borrowed and meeting room time uses; computer time used; reference questions answered, etc. to come up with the value of these services. Try it out. You might be surprised by what your $8.80/month gets you. (This is the amount a homeowner in Brattleboro with a $200,000 home pays in property taxes each month for library service.)

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