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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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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