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The original item was published from 9/17/2018 2:12:00 PM to 1/2/2020 12:00:04 AM.

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Life at the Library

Posted on: September 17, 2018

[ARCHIVED] How much is your library card worth?

dollar sign-600

This post was submitted by Washington County Library’s social media specialist Kim Ukura, a voracious reader who recently unearthed her award certificate for reading 40 books during her library’s kids summer reading club in 1996. 

I’ve always been an avid library user. From completing my library’s summer reading program as a kid to serving on the library board at my local branch as an adult, my life was richer because of libraries even before I got hired to work at WashCoLib. 

While I’m happy to sing the praises of libraries to everyone I can, some people are more persuaded about the value of thing using hard numbers over good feelings. 

Enter the American Library Association’s Library Card Value Calculator

The calculator asks you to enter actual numbers for things like “Adult Books Borrowed,” “eBooks Downloaded,” “Children’s Program Attended,” and “Database Searches,” then assigns a dollar value to each activity. Using these quantities, it’s possible to look at your total library card use and calculate how many dollars you saved just by going to your local library. 

To give an example, I decided to test out the calculator based on my own library use in August. Here’s how I used the library last month: 

  • 8 – Adult Books Borrowed
  • 2 – YA Books Borrowed
  • 1 – Audiobooks Borrowed
  • 3 – eBooks Downloaded
  • 1 – Magazines Read
  • 1 – Adult Program Attended
  • 4 – Database Searches
  • 1 – Reference Assistance

I know that looks like a lot of books, but I’m a free range reader, and I like to give a lot of titles a try before I settle on what I want to read. Without the library, my reading life would be so much more limited (and expensive!). 

But enough small talk – what you really want to know is my total. According to the calculator, I saved $321.75 just by being an active user here at Washington County Library and at the library near my home in Dakota County in August!

Now imagine calculating that out over an entire year, or even an entire lifetime? I might be a little biased, but that’s amazing! 

Want to test it out for yourself? Click through to the Library Card Value Calculator, find your total, and let us know how much the library is worth to you by connecting with @WashCoLib on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

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