Latest Public Sector News

19.02.14

‘Complex’ economic impact of libraries to be identified

New research will consider the wider economic contribution of libraries, Arts Council England has announced.

The project will bring together local and international studies into the impact of libraries and establish gaps in the evidence, identifying priority areas of investigation. The Arts Council suggests libraries’ economic contribution is more complex than currently considered – including enabling people to manage their own wellbeing and thus reducing demand on health and social care, as well as helping people to improve their skills and job prospects.

Brian Ashley, director of libraries, Arts Council England, said: “Numerous stories are told of how people see their library as a gateway to opportunities they didn’t know they had, often described as a ‘lifesaver’ in a challenging world. Many of these services will have an economic impact with benefits that emerge after a long period of time and which may be affected by other factors. Those who know and love libraries will already be aware of this; our challenge is to make the assertion more widely known and provide the evidence to back it up.

“A piece of research of this kind will help us to advocate a more complete picture of the public value of libraries to the economic life of this country and this, in turn, will help make the case for a resilient and sustainable service.”

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