March 20, 2018

Study Asserts South Carolina PLs Produce $347 Million Economic Impact

By LJ Staff

For every dollar spent on South Carolina’s public libraries, the state receives $4.48, a 350% return for a total economic impact of $347 million, according to a study by the University of South Carolina’s (USC) School of Library and Information Science. Dr. Daniel D. Barron, director of the school and a researcher for the study, acknowledged to LJ that some of the inputs analyzed were imprecise. There’s no hard data, for example, on how long a reference transaction takes. "We can’t wait until the final numbers are there," he said, citing the value of bringing attention "to the idea that there are economic values to our services."

USC collaborated with the South Carolina Association of Public Library Administrators to conduct a perception survey among public library users across the state. Business community members, job seekers, personal investors and general adult users all cited significant value from the library, from increased productivity to strengthened community, lifelong learning to homeschooling. The study includes numerous quotes from the 3,689 public library users surveyed.