Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What’s a library worth?

Perhaps it is because the economy is sour, it is time to submit our annual operating request to the city, or simply because it is early morning, and that always seems a reflective time of day. Regardless, I want to draw your attention to two items which address the issues of a library’s worth. One, based on a calculator on the Maine State Library web site, offers some sense of what the services offered by a library would cost in the for profit sector. You might quibble with a few of the answers, but overall I think you will find it edifying. Go to our About Otis Page on the library web site,, and you will see the link at the bottom of the menu.

The second recommendation is a short article on the web site The Consumerist entitled “7 Ways Your Public Library Can Help You During Bad Economic Times.” I most enjoyed two of the 7, although all had merit. First, Make new friends. There are plenty of ways and aids which afford sanctuary from humankind-I am thinking of devices that involve headphones among others-but libraries actually encourage interaction, be it in a book group, public program or as a Friend of Otis Library. The other opportunity, Find a new Job is particularly salient given the shudder inducing economic news. It seems like no business wants to see a paper application anymore. The application form, your résumé, everything is channeled via the internet. Otis has the computers, the resources and the learning opportunities to help you navigate through the process, and as important, to help you minimize the tension and frustration involved.
Of course there are innumerable other good reasons to patronize the library, and I encourage you to view them or calculate their value at the locations above.