This post is the first in a series of posts about the importance of public libraries in driving community economic growth. It is intended to inform the people of Fairfax County and, more importantly, its Board of Supervisors and the role our public libraries in stimulating economic growth. This is especially important at this time because Fairfax County is going through a period of economic stagnation as a result of Congressional cuts in spending, sequestration, and the occasional capricious federal government shutdowns. Fairfax County can no longer live alone off the generosity of the federal government and must invest its tax revenues smartly to assure the future growth of our county and its multitude of communities.
In putting this series together, we will try to present independent studies we believe are balanced and comprehensive, including those that may suggest public library spending is not a good investment. We will specifically try to avoid studies by libraries and library advocacy groups--even if their methodologies and findings are balanced. For the most part, the studies we will present here will come from governmental, non-profit community, and academic research studies.
It is our goal to inform the discussion about Fairfax County's decade-long dismantling of our public library system in the hope that our leaders will see the shortsightedness of this policy and will begin, once again, to invest in our public library system.
Below is our first contribution to this series: a qualitative 2007 study by The Urban Institute that shows how public libraries make cities (and presumably counties) economically stronger.