Each Tax Dollar Spent on Libraries Gives Back $5 in Value to Park County



Roger Murray (left), Shelly Waidelich, and Love Murray meet regularly at Waidelich’s Monday morning Tech Training sessions at the library.

By the Park County Library staff

For every tax dollar invested in the Park County Library, residents receive $5.09 back in library collections, services, programs and facility use, according to the library’s 2017 Report to the Community. This is an $.86 increase over services tracked and published in 2016.

The library system enjoys broad community support, not only in terms of county funding, but, by the 259,883 people who visited in fiscal year 2017. In return, the library staff strives to provide a premiere experience for patrons of all ages.

Library card holders in Park County borrowed more than $6 million worth of materials from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. Books in audio, large print, paperback, electronic, and hardback; DVDs; newspapers; magazines; and music CDs accounted for the majority of services rendered.

The popularity of eBooks declined among Park County readers, which reflects a national preference according to Pew Research Center. “A growing share of Americans are reading eBooks on tablets and smartphones rather than dedicated e-readers, but print books remain much more popular than books in digital formats,” Pew reports.

Librarians continue to help patrons download audio and eBooks to their devices at more than four times the rate recorded last year. The library as community hub is amply demonstrated by steady wireless and public computer use.

Meeting room use by the entire community increased in value by 50% over the last year. Attendance at the libraries’ 1,200 programs exceeded 25,000 people. The most remarkable increase was in children’s attendance. Children also exhibited the largest increase in hard cover books borrowed.

Volunteers contribute more than 1000 hours annually, which does not include the time donated by members of the Friends of the Libraries. In Cody, their tireless efforts have created a bookstore where proceeds subsidize the county budget. The Powell Friends hold regular book sales. Unmet needs are also underwritten by private donations to the Park County Library Foundation. Direct community support accounts for at least another 10 percent in revenue.

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