The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the economic impacts and benefits of Florida public libraries. The study objectives were to: describe the role of public libraries in economic development; identify and describe the range of specific activities and programs engaged in to support economic development; identify factors that contribute to the success of involvement in economic development; propose a study, based on findings reported here, to measure specific return on investment from public libraries; and offer recommendations and strategies for how public libraries in Florida might be more effective in supporting economic development. Data collection efforts involved a multi-method approach consisting of a literature review, focus groups, a financial analysis of Florida public libraries, a statewide sample survey of public library patrons, a survey of library directors and ranch managers, librarian service logs, and group interviews. Results indicate that patrons believe that public libraries contribute to their financial well being, provide economic benefits to local businesses, and support the prosperity of the community. Participants described numerous instances where economic benefits and impacts resulted from a range of public library services and programs. This study provides an important first step in documenting those impacts, describing programs and services that support economic development, and offering strategies that policymakers and the library community might use to enhance this service role. Appendices contain service logs; patron survey; directors/managers survey; group interview questions guide; group interview survey; economic benefit survey with estimated tax statement; and economic benefit survey without estimated tax statement. (Includes 72 tables and figures. Contains 39 references.) (AEF)
1 - Available on microfiche
Florida State Univ., Tallahassee. Information Use Management and Policy Inst.