Libraries Connected East has conducted extensive research that happily reveals that England’s public libraries generate a value of £3.4 billion a year and we at The Library Campaign think that far more people should know about this. On their website Libraries Connected say that:
“Through extensive library visits, user interviews, and statistical analysis, the authors estimated that a branch library typically provides £1 million in value annually. They then extrapolated the findings to all of England’s 3,000 libraries, giving a national total of £3.4 billion. Using Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) spending data for the year 2021/22, this represents a return on investment of at least six times cost.”
We hope this report is taken seriously by local authorities. Spending on libraries has fallen by 17% in the last year, while in-person visits are rapidly returning to pre-Covid levels. More and more councils are scrapping late return fees, as was reported a few months ago here in The Guardian.
The full report from Libraries Connected can be viewed as a PDF here.
(The picture is of the Millennium Library in Norwich)