Libraries stand alone in the service we provide. We give books to people. We give them research articles. We give them access to computers and other technology. We give them our expertise in working with information. We give them programs. We give them training. We get them ready for college. We teach them how to do research. We train them to know the real meaning of “fake news.”
The value of libraries can be calculated qualitatively: the quality of the materials and services we provide is phenomenal. The “how does this feel?” test will generally blow the positive end off the charts: libraries “feel” great, most people like us, and even just hearing about the assorted stuff we do is enough to impress most people.
But our quantitative value is also pretty darn impressive! There have been a bunch of studies calculating the ROI (Return On Investment) of libraries. These are most frequently done on public libraries, but my moderately-expert opinion on this is that the general results would likely carry over to all types of libraries. These public library studies show that for every $1 invested in public libraries, value returned varies from a “mere” $2.97 in Suffolk County, New York, to $10.18 in Florida public libraries.
CMLE is working to develop a broad-spectrum advocacy program, to help our libraries tell their story, and to let their funders know about the amazing value. I love to brag about the great things going on in our libraries – and it’s not just Central Minnesota, libraries all over the place are just so impressive!
And of course, I am not alone in wanting to talk about libraries!
The Minnesota Library Association (MLA) organizes Library Legislative Day each year. This year, it is Tuesday, March 6.
Want more info about this? Check out this MLA/ITEM Legislative Legwork Commitee site – new this year with a TON of great info!! If you have ever wanted to know even the smallest detail of what it’s like to go to Legislative Day (spoiler: it’s fun!), it is here!
We have had a great turnout from public libraries, and their board members, attending and advocating with our legislators for libraries across the state. Thanks, everyone who helps libraries!!!
This year, I want to see if additional other library people can come and talk about your libraries.
If there is interest across CMLE, we can organize a group visit for members. I would make appointments with our legislators, and we would all go as a group. Generally, these are pretty quick – maybe 15 minutes, so there is not a lot of time to get our message out. But it might be fun, and it might be helpful to legislators to see all these different library people coming to advocate for library support and funding.
Let us know if you might be interested in coming to St. Paul on Mar. 6 to talk about libraries! And of course, we also suggest you mail postcards to legislators and stakeholders, or send quick emails to tell them how valuable their support is and the great things your library is doing with that support. Don’t hesitate to give any legislator a quick phone call, and just say thanks for the support and tell them about a service you provide or a patron you helped.
Here is the info from the MLA Legislative Committee:
- 6pm Optional dinner groups. Watch for more info & registration.
- Detailed agenda available soon
- Legislative Day Briefing (same as March 5)
- Schedule your legislative visits
- Library Info Fair (10-3pm)
And, if you want to plan far ahead: