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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

OCLC Report Details the Economic Impact of Libraries

In a report originally released in 2003, OCLC, the world’s largest library cooperative¹, researched stacks of sources to develop “a snapshot of the economic impact of libraries worldwide,” and this report, entitled “Libraries: How They Stack Up,” remains as timely as ever.²

In this report, OCLC compiles data to highlight several enlightening economical comparisons between libraries and other major business sectors, professions, and destinations worldwide. This report discusses libraries as:
  • Economic engines
    • U.S. libraries purchase an estimated $14 billion ($31 billion for libraries worldwide) in goods and services annually
  • Logistics experts
    • U.S. libraries circulate 1,947,600,000 items a year
    • U.S. public library cardholders outnumber Amazon customers by almost 5 to 1 and circulates nearly 4 times more items daily than Amazon handles
  • Valued destinations
    • Five times more people visit U.S. public libraries each year than attend U.S. professional and college football, basketball, baseball, and hockey games combined
  • Global information suppliers
    • The estimated value of collections for the world’s one million libraries is $720 billion
  • Home to a vibrant and sizable profession
    • There are 690,000 librarians employed worldwide with 203,000 of them working in the U.S. ³
Check out the report in its entirety here. What do you think of this report? How do you feel the data has shifted since 2003? How does your library stack up in relation to the items presented?
Share your feedback here as comments.

³All bulleted items summarized from OCLC’s “Libraries: How They Stack Up” (2003).

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