Return on Investment of Ohio’s Public Libraries & Comparison with Other States
Howard Fleeter & Associates
Summary of Findings
This report compared the service provision and cost effectiveness of Ohio’s
public libraries to those in other states and also computed the Return on
Investment to Ohioans from utilizing the materials and services of the state’s
extensive public library system. The findings detailed in this report provide a
comprehensive and convincing assessment of the value of Ohio public libraries
to the state’s residents.
The findings below highlight the quality of Ohio’s public libraries in a national
Ohio has the second highest percentage of registered borrowers at
77.7%, behind only Minnesota.
Ohio has the highest number of library transactions per capita in the
country, utilizing library materials and services at a rate that is more than
twice the national average.
Ohio also ranks first nationally in library visits per capita, averaging 7.5
visits per year for each person.
While Ohio public libraries provide an extensive array of services to
patrons, they also do so in a cost effective manner. Ohio has one of the
lowest costs per library transaction, ranking 41st nationally and well below
the national average cost.
Public library “Return on Investment” (ROI) is computed by assessing the
statewide value of library materials and services to library patrons and then
comparing this value with statewide library operating expenditures. The ROI
analysis in this report has these principle findings:
Ohio’s public libraries provided nearly $2.7 billion in direct economic value
(or “benefit”) to Ohio residents in 2014.
When the economic benefit above is compared with statewide total
operating expenditures of $687.5 million, the ROI from Ohio’s public
libraries in 2014 was 3.89. This means that for every $1 spent by public
libraries in Ohio, $3.89 in benefit was delivered to Ohio residents.
When economic multiplier effects are included, each $1 spent by Ohio
public libraries returns a total economic value of $5.48 to Ohioans.