In December a report, So Much More: The Economic Impact of the Toronto Public Library System on the City of Toronto was released. Commissioned by the Toronto Public Library and undertaken by Martin Prosperity Institute, part of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, this was the first Canadian study to measure the library’s economic impact on Toronto.
Results clearly demonstrate that Toronto Public Library delivers a strong return on investment through the delivery of library services that enhance Toronto’s competitiveness and prosperity and contribute to a better quality of life for all.
Key findings include:
- The total economic impact of the Toronto Public Library on the city of Toronto is $1 billion.
- For every dollar invested in Toronto Public Library, Torontonians receive $5.63 of value.
- For those who use the library, the average value of services accessed is as much as $500.
- On average, one open hour at any one of the library’s 98 branches generates $2,515 in benefits for the city of Toronto. The average cost of one open hour is $653, so the average benefit is almost 4 times the average cost.
Beyond tangible benefits outlined in the report, the library delivers value to Toronto’s communities and residents in ways that are not easily quantifiable but nonetheless support Toronto’s economy, increase its competitiveness and prosperity and contribute to the city’s livability and quality of life. Measuring the value of programs and services in economic terms only tells part of the story.
The report also includes analysis of some Toronto Public Library programs and services that make a difference to the city, going beyond the numbers. These services are not easily quantifiable, but create significant value for residents, including opportunities to improve literacy skills, engage in lifelong learning and enhance educational and employment opportunities. These outcomes deliver a lifetime of value to residents and increase the economic competitiveness and prosperity of Toronto.
Toronto Public Library Workers Union congratulated the Library Board for conducting this study which they siad reinforced the message of their recently released four-minute animated video OurPublicLibrary.to