How much is your use of the library worth?

Roy Mackenzie | November 3, 2016

Today’s blog post comes from the Supervisor of Collection Development, Colin.

“Free to all” is a bedrock principle of public libraries, but we would not be able to provide the wealth of programs, services and collections available to you without funding from a variety of sources, including Town appropriations, support from the Brookline Library Foundation and the Friends of the Brookline Library, State Aid money, and grant funding.

The Brookline community passionately supports its libraries, but have you ever taken a moment to calculate the return you receive on the investments made in our library system?
The American Library Association and the Massachusetts Library Association have created a “Library Value Calculator,” in which you can estimate the dollar amount in books, DVDs, magazines, museum passes, electronic resources, meeting room use, program attendance and help from library staff you benefit from on a yearly basis.
For instance, the calculator estimates that one interaction with reference librarian is worth $7, while one hour of computer use is worth $12. Borrowing a new hardcover fiction book is worth $17, a DVD is $4, and and audiobook is $9. These small transactions, added up over the course of weeks, months and years, provide a glimpse into the assistance and relief public libraries provide to people of all backgrounds on a daily basis.
If you’re not currently taking advantage of all that we have to offer, the Library Value Calculator is also useful to calculate the money you could save. How much do you pay for Consumer Reports per year? How about your online access to the New York Times? The New Yorker? A strategic decision here and there to make use of library resources can have a pronounced effect on your monthly budget.
The commitment to make public libraries free to all represents the best principles of our democracy. As we continue to affirm the importance of the library in our community, let us honor both the costs associated with this access and the value the community receives in return.