Libraries are economical

2012-07-27T13:59:00Z Libraries are economicalContributed by LuAnne DePriest Programming and PR Asst. Westchester Public Library nwitimes.com

Did you know that Americas go to libraries (of all types) more than they go to the movies? Libraries are economical, efficient, and essential. They offer free access to books, magazines, audio/video materials, online resources and more. Library usage continues to rise, with public library visits exceeding 1.3 billion nationwide in 2011.

Nationally, the average cost to the taxpayer for library resources is about $31 per year. The average person spends two and a half times more per year on salty snacks than they do on the cost of their library.

Thirty percent of Hoosiers don’t own a home computer. Where can they go to electronically file important documents required by the government? To their public library! Who helps them complete a myriad of forms? Their library staff.

Thousands of Hoosiers count on libraries to search for jobs and receive homework and research assistance. Libraries save visitors thousands of dollars by offering books, magazines, DVDs and other resources for check-out.

Top-quality programs are offered for every age, free of charge. Youngsters benefit from a variety of early reading programs, too.

Public libraries in Indiana welcomed more than 42 million visitors last year, ranking Indiana as number two on library visits per capita. Indiana’s libraries rank number three in the nation on circulation (items checked out) per capita. Public libraries provide almost 9,000 jobs in Indiana, with more than 2,000 businesses that support libraries. Salaries and expenditures generate $328 million in economic activity in the state, with the market value of the range of services provided being more than $568 million.

Libraries are among the most effective of all public services, serving more than two-thirds of the public with less than two percent of all tax dollars.

Westchester Public Library (WPL) serves the residents of Westchester Township, but has reciprocal borrowing agreements with most of the other public libraries in the area. The towns of Chesterton, Porter, Burns Harbor, and Dune Acres are in the library district, with two branches available to patrons. The main branch, Thomas Library, is located at 200 W. Indiana Avenue, Chesterton (926-7696). Hageman Branch is located at 100 Francis Street, Porter (926-9080). The Westchester Township History Museum is an educational and cultural service of the library and is located at 700 W. Porter Avenue, Chesterton (983-9715).

WPL values using taxpayer dollars effectively and seeks constantly to improve productivity, working to manage community resources entrusted to the library in an ethical and responsible manner. It is the vision of Westchester Public Library that the citizens of the library district receive the education, instruction, and social support they need to be able to compete, succeed, and prosper in the modern world.

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