BBR study demonstrates economic value of Texas public libraries

A new report prepared by the Bureau of Business Research for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has found that Texas public libraries provide $2.628 billion in economic benefits to the state.

Texas Public Libraries: Economic Benefits and Return on InvestmentCollectively, in FY 2015, Texas public libraries were found to offer a sizeable return on investment. For every one dollar spent, libraries offered $4.64 worth of services, resources, and economic opportunity to communities.

The findings are consistent with a previous BBR study which found an economic return in FY 2011 of $4.42 for every dollar spent on libraries.

Dr. Jim Jarrett, BBR Senior Research Scientist, used a data-intensive process to document and quantify economic benefits. The findings showed that libraries produced $976 million in direct economic activity and more than 11,000 jobs in FY 2015 were dependent on public library expenditures.

Another major component of the study analyzed key services offered by most public libraries in the state. BBR found that libraries contributed an additional $1.652 billion worth of services, including educational programming, internet and computer access, electronic databases, circulation of materials, reference services, in-library use of books, volunteer opportunities, and wireless access.

The study used a conservative approach and valued public libraries purely as business and organizational entities. Researchers used extensive databases from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in conjunction with input-out economic modeling software. The research found that, while Texas public libraries cost $566 million in FY 15, those libraries provided a return on investment of $4.64 for each of those dollars spent.

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