Authored by Rod Sawyer, a Public Library Consultant at the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, Cultural Partnerships Branch in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Ontario public libraries have an enormous economic impact on their communities and on the province. They have unparalleled potential to be public access points to globally-available multimedia information available through the provincial information infrastructure. Despite this opportunity for growth and recognition, Ontario public libraries are facing economic restraint and funding cutbacks at the provincial and municipal level. Ontario public libraries must be able to convince government funders and the private and not-for-profit sectors of the job creation benefits they provide and of the economic role they have.
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This article summarizes some research done by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation on Ontario public libraries’ socio-economic benefits and suggests a frame- work that can be used elsewhere by public libraries or government and other funding organizations that support public libraries. It is based on an unpublished report, The Economic and Job-Creation Benefits of Ontario’s Public and First Nations Libraries.