I’m going to admit something nerdy – I’m in love with public libraries.
I’ve been reading a lot about them recently for work. Did you know that one American study found a return on investment for taxpayers of $8.32 for every $1 spent?
- Social connection – which leads to:
- Better mental health
- Increased happiness
- Decreased isolation
- Increased levels of literacy – which leads to increased:
- Home ownership
- Levels of health
- Civil engagement
And that is before you account for the programmes that they run and the other social services they accommodate in their facilities.
I follow the blog of Alyson Tyler who is a Libraries Development Programme Manager in Wales – and they are producing the most amazing research on the benefits of libraries. Alyson recently published a post with a list of resources on health and wellbeing in libraries.
Below are two papers that she points to:
First Incomplete Field Guide to Wellbeing in Libraries
This paper has case studies from libraries in every local authority (in Wales), outlining projects, benefits and impacts.
Public Libraries in Wales: Health, Wellbeing and Social Benefits
A report released in 2012 on the health, wellbeing and social benefits of public libraries in Wales.
Another few resources for your reading pleasure:
Envisioning the library of the future – Arts Council of England (ACE)
This report focuses on four main areas: placing libraries at the heart of the community, making the most of digital technology, ensuring that libraries are sustainable and developing staff skills for future libraries.
Children’s experiences of libraries: A research report on children’s perceptions of library spaces and services, Auckland Libraries
In 2011, 9-13 year olds across the Auckland (New Zealand) region were surveyed about their experiences of library spaces and services. Perhaps surprisingly, the research indicated that it is the books themselves that motivates this age group to visit the library.
Cross-European survey to measure users’ perceptions of the benefits of ICT in public libraries’ – published by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Surveying a sample of library users, the general population and library staff in 17 European countries in 2012, this report has some interesting findings. Including that nearly one in four adults in Europe had used a public library in the last year and 67% of those living in Finland were likely to use libraries (compared to just 14% in Italy).
So next time you spot your local library, why don’t you pop in and avail yourself to the many positive benefits?
I hope that soon I shall have a review of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald up – I am enjoying the writing so much that I am reading it very slowly to savour the detail.