First-of-its-kind Canadian study illustrates library’s economic impact on Toronto
TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ – Toronto Public Library recently commissioned the Martin Prosperity Institute, part of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, to conduct 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.
The report is entitled So Much More: The Economic Impact of the Toronto Public Library System on the City of Toronto. 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.
“For the first time, we can demonstrate the library’s economic impact on our city, in addition to the powerful impact on individuals and communities that isn’t as easily quantifiable,” said Paul Ainslie, Chair of the Toronto Public Library Board. “We think Toronto residents will be very interested to hear that for every dollar invested in the library they receive almost six times the value. A dollar invested in the library has a significant return for the city.”
The Toronto Public Library Board, as well as City Council, requested this study to measure the return on investment for public library service and the value provided to Toronto residents. The study was funded by the Toronto Public Library Foundation, thanks to a generous donation from TD Bank Group and a contribution from the Estate of Norman G. Hinton.
“The prospect of looking at the economic impact of the Toronto Public Library offered the MPI an exciting challenge. We knew that being the first in Canada to bring a carefully documented and objective evaluation of economic impact and benefits would be an important step,” said Kevin Stolarick, Research Director, The Martin Prosperity Institute,Joseph L. Rotman School of Management. “We are encouraged that even the lowest, most conservative estimates show significant benefits for Toronto.”
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.
The study methodology quantified the total economic impact and return on investment of Toronto Public Library services based on analysis of direct tangible benefits, direct spending and indirect tangible benefits. Full study methodology is available in the report.
About Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library is one of the world’s busiest urban public library systems. Every year, 19 million people visit our branches in neighbourhoods across the city and borrow 32 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit our website at torontopubliclibrary.ca or call Answerline at 416-393-7131. To get the most current updates on what’s happening at the library, follow us on Twitter @torontolibrary.
About Martin Prosperity Institute
The Lloyd & Delphine Martin Prosperity Institute is the world’s leading think-tank on the role of sub-national factors – location, place and city-regions – in global economic prosperity. It takes an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.