Summary of Recent Public Library Return on Investment Studies

Out of State ROI Findings Summary

Obtained from “Worth Their Weight: An Assessment of the Evolving Field of Library Valuation”PDF document

Study

Scope

State

ROI

Taxpayer Return on Investment in Florida Public Libraries State FL $6.54
Tax Payer Return on Investment in Pennsylvania Public Libraries State PA $5.50
Placing Economic Value on the Services of the Middle Country Public Library in Suffolk County, New YorkPDF document Individual Library NY $4.59
Economic Impact of Public Libraries in South Carolina State SC $4.48
The Economic Value of the Port Jefferson Free Library in Suffolk County, New York Individual Library NY $4.14
Placing an Economic Value on the Services of Public Libraries in Suffolk CountyPDF document County NY $3.93
Economic Benefits of Public Libraries: Value for MoneyPDF document 9 libraries OH $3.81
Placing Economic Value on the Services of the Northport-East Northport Public Library in Suffolk County, New YorkPDF document Individual Library NY $3.30
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: Community Impact and Benefits Individual Library PA $3.00
Placing Economic Value on the Services of the Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library in Suffolk County, New York Individual Library NY $2.97
Mean $4.23
Median $4.04

Colorado ROI Findings Summary

Library

Return on Investment for Every $1.00 Invested

Eagle Valley Library District $4.28
Mesa County Public Library District $4.57
Rangeview Library District (Adams County) $4.81
Denver Public Library $4.96
Douglas County Libraries (District) $5.02
Montrose Library District $5.33
Fort Morgan Public Library* $8.80
Cortez Public Library* $31.07

* Note: Several factors used in the calculation of the return on investment are driving a remarkably high ROI ratio for CPL (and to a lesser extent Fort Morgan).

The following explanation appears in Cortez Public Library’s report:

This study examines the return on investment for each library’s community. Therefore, only local revenue is used in calculating the monetary contribution of community members to each library. Several factors used in the calculation of the return on investment are driving a remarkably high ROI ratio for CPL.

Cortez Public Library (CPL) is established and funded as a municipal library, meaning the city of Cortez is considered its legal service area. Therefore, CPL is funded almost exclusively by city general funds totaling $315,128. In addition, CPL receives $11,000 in county general funds. The residents of Cortez fund the library at a rate of $36.86 per capita, and those of unincorporated Montezuma County fund it at a rate of 77¢ per capita.

Though the library is funded primarily by the city, more than half of its registered borrowers (55%) reside outside of Cortez. Additionally, CPL has an unusually high number of visits for a library of its size. This, combined with its small Legal Service Area population in relation to the number of people it actually serves, gives them a visits per capita ratio of 21.6. This is the highest ratio in CPL’s population range (5,000 to 9,999) and higher than all other non-resort public libraries serving more than 1,500 people in Colorado.

Due to this discrepancy between funding and use as well as the high visit ratio, CPL has an exceptionally high return on investment figure in comparison to other libraries that participated in this survey, which tended toward a number around $5.

POPULAR RESOURCES

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