Libraries Add Economic Value to Local Communities

Largo Public Library

By Ken Detzner

The public library is a place of learning, a hub for educational resources, and a community center. Children discover new worlds as they’re read to, young adults learn new skills and librarians assist patrons needing educational or business support.

Not only have libraries historically proven to be beneficial to the areas they serve, a recent Return on Investment study conducted by the Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development, University of West Florida, provides the hard numbers demonstrating the economic value of public libraries. The overall Return on Investment that libraries offer, the business and educational support that is provided, and the essential services provided show that libraries are not only places of learning, but add economic value to their local communities.

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The Best Library

By Natorya N. 

I had lived in Palm Beach County several years before my little brother came to live with me full-time. I’d been to the Downtown West Palm Beach Library hundreds of times and never stopped on the 3rd floor until I knew my little brother was coming down there to live with me. I went to the 3rd floor in search of material on how to raise a good kid. One of the staff, who actually doesn’t work there anymore, helped me by suggesting parenting materials that did help me so much. I began to consider that library to be like a 2nd home to me and my brother. When I needed a break, we’d walk there. We only lived a 15min walk away. He could play around on the computers, read, play games, be around different types of kids, ect… And I could relax, take a break… breathe. Fast forward a couple years. I’d been having these kid stories on my mind for a while. One day, I asked one of our favorite librarians to pull up all the books on a certain subject. She did and I read it. There was only one. Some months later, I started actually writing the stories. Those stories turned into a kids book series and my first book has a release date of 10/28/14. Without the help of this library and these librarians… My life would’ve been much more stressful and I may not be a published author with a new kids book able to be pre-ordered right now ( and in stores soon to be purchased by real people. My brother and I LOVE this library and its’ staff. It’s in the heart of Downtown West Palm Beach, exactly where it should be!

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Escapism & Destiny

By Lynette M. 

All during my life, I was destined to be a librarian. I grew up in a tumultuous home. My parents were divorced and while I lived with my alcoholic mother most of the time, I was often in foster homes while she was trying to “dry out”.

I found that no matter which school I was in, what neighborhood I lived in or which family I lived with, I could visit the library and they were all the same. Different walls, different people maybe but the library itself was my friend. I could read a book and be lost in the movie that plays in my head with each book I read. It was escapism at its finest.

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Florida Woman Goes to Library

By Sue W. 

After you move from the scholarly western suburbs of Boston to the coast of Southwest Florida, a few things may unsettle you at first.

There are, of course, the gap-toothed guys driving around in pickup trucks flying Confederate flags.

You realize that news reports about Florida Man or Florida Woman—a recent form of Homo sapiens—now come out of your own fair state. You know Florida Man, of course you do. “Florida man assaults wife with machete for buying toilet paper at Walmart.” Only in Florida, you think.

Groceries are surprisingly pricey here. The ice cream truck plays Christmas carols, year round. The sun sets into the ocean. Given the FCAT scores, you wonder if kids here ever go to college.

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The Library: Reliable Friend, Faithful Tutor, Quiet Refuge

By Diana S. 

As an adolescent, I moved and changed schools frequently. New schools presented so many challenges. Apart from the obvious social matters, there were almost always gaps and differences in curriculum that had me asking “am I ever going to catch up?” With each new move, I made sure that I quickly found the local library. It was the only place to find unbiased help that closed the gaps in learning spaces while providing all the tools that I needed to cope with school. The library also offered a wealth of local information and I relied on the library to have up-to-date tools, and knowledgeable people. Libraries drew me to a life-long love affair with reading (which facilitated learning in the most unfamiliar situations). With moving comes chaos – and plenty of it. But, as soon as I stepped through the doors of the library, the absence of chaos became the state of salvation. Beyond studying and academics, I came to the library to expand my interests and learn more about the things I loved in the serenity that only a library can provide.

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