New report shows Victorian public libraries benefit the community but need more funds to meet demand

New economic modelling by SGS Economics and Planning demonstrates that every dollar invested in Victorian public libraries generates $4.30 of benefits to the local community.

Prepared for the State Library Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria Network, the report 'LIBRARIES WORK! The socio-economic value of public libraries to Victorians' shows that public libraries deliver significant economic and social benefit to the Victorian community, but library funding has not kept pace with demand.

Victorian public libraries receive more than 30 million visits a year and are operated and mainly funded by local government, with 15% of funding from state government (2016-17). This report calls for funding partners - such the state government and the Australian government - to consider additional investment in public library services, knowing there is almost no risk of generating diminishing returns for the Victorian community.

Public libraries have evolved beyond their traditional role of housing book collections. The report shows that those who visit libraries appreciate the free access to physical and digital resources and programmes within a safe and welcoming space that encourages social inclusion. Even those who don’t use libraries appreciate that it will be there for them in the future and that it is there right now for those who do need it.

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