Visit to a library 'worth £25'

Visit to a library 'worth £25'

A single visit to the library is worth more than £25 to the people who use it, according to new research from ALMA-UK (Archives Libraries & Museums Alliance UK).

The body, a partnership made up of bodies such as Arts Council England, Libraries NI and the Scottish Library and Information Council, carried out the research over the summer of 2013, surveying thousands of library users in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

More than 4,000 people were canvassed at over 80 libraries, with the research showing that library users place a theoretical money value of between £24 and £27 on each visit to the library, a value which is around 5.7 times greater than the cost of providing the service.

The research, undertaken for ALMA-UK by ERS Research and Consultancy, also showed that libraries supported employment and boosted the local economy.

ALMA-UK has now created a Economic Value of Libraries Toolkit to help libraries demonstrate their value.

Linda Tomos, chair of ALMA-UK said: "In the current financial climate it is essential that public libraries can demonstrate their significant economic impact. This initial research clearly demonstrates the economic benefits to library users of using our public libraries."

In February, Arts Council England announced that it was commissioning new research into the public library service's impact on the national economy, with plans to publish this summer. Last year, the former culture secretary Maria Miller said that culture must be valued on its economic impact, saying: "In an age of austerity, when times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture’s economic impact."