Georgia public libraries provide $732.8 million in state economic impact

Georgia public libraries provide $732.8 million in state economic impact  and service valuation. AJC file photo

Combined ShapeCaption
Georgia public libraries provide $732.8 million in state economic impact and service valuation. AJC file photo

Georgia’s 408 public libraries provide social benefits of $562.1 million and economic impacts of $170.7 million annually, according to a study by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government and funded by the Georgia Public Library Service.

Georgia’s public libraries also provide tremendous value in return for the investment of public dollars and private donations. For each dollar funded to the libraries, society receives an estimated $3.21 in goods and services plus indirect economic benefits, according to a press release.

“This report demonstrates what patrons already know: Georgia’s public libraries are learning centers that empower their community members to achieve their goals at any stage of life,” said State Librarian Julie Walker. “Libraries have reimagined their spaces, collections, and services to meet their community’s needs.”

Many libraries partner with local organizations to provide innovative services, from donating library garden produce to address local food insecurity to leading job search workshops at area homeless centers. Groups gather at the library to discuss books, learn STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) skills, and much more. Public library services extend beyond the library walls to be integrated into the communities they serve as well as online.

The study found that the two most valuable services offered at libraries are access to electronic resources, using either the library’s computers or a Wi-Fi connection, and the circulation of books, music, and movies.

“In many ways, the value of a library to its community is incalculable,” said Walker. “As the one community institution that welcomes people at every age and stage of life, meeting their diverse needs and educational aspirations, the library symbolizes a community’s commitment to future generations. Local and state elected officials in Georgia have long recognized this value by building and maintaining libraries in every county, and supporting them generously.”

Read the full report at https://georgialibraries.org/impactreports/statewide-gpls-final-report.pdf