Val forrestal capstone


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This was my capstone project for my "Professional Presentations" class. It's a proposal for the government to charge Americans an extra dollar on their taxes every year to save public libraries.

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  • The library: rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated.(Images:
  • In fact, library use is on the rise: according to a recent (January 2011) Harris Poll National Quorum, Americans are making use of their libraries at steady or increasing rates, with 65% of those polled said they had visited the library in the past year. (Public library visits exceed 1.3 billion, and libraries circulate more items than Fed Ex ships – more than 2.1 billion books, CDs, DVDs and more.)
  • Despite this, unbalanced and overspent national and local budgets have led to widespread cuts in public library funding across the country. There are approximately 205 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 69. I propose that if we charged each one of them $1 extra on their taxes each year, we would be able to build a nation-wide library network that this country could be proud of, and make libraries and library services (like access to computers, internet and high-quality online resources) available to everyone in the US.
  • Federal cuts are only a small portion of the problem. Increased foreclosures rates and fewer home sales are pulling down local property-tax revenues, which many public library systems depend on to pay for significant portions of their budgets.
  • But why libraries? Many organizations are hurting for funding right now. But libraries provide people with the tools to stay afloat in this economy, like...
  • ...employment resources... Libraries are also a prime location for job-hunting and resume resources, as well as the computers and internet to research and apply to them. A 2010 Gates Foundation poll reported that in 2009, 4 million Americans were hired for jobs that they applied for on public library computers.
  • Libraries are among the most universal and effective of all public services, serving more than 2/3 of the public with less than 2 percent of all tax dollars.
  • They’re also a great bargain! Cost-benefit analyses of public libraries consistently show that every tax dollar invested in them returns over 100% of the investment. (Source: Holt, G. E., & Elliott, D. (2003). Measuring Outcomes: Applying Cost-Benefit Analysis to Middle-Sized and Smaller Public Libraries. Library Trends, 51(3), 424)
  • A 2010 study on the value of public libraries in Florida concluded that for every tax dollar received, Florida public libraries provide $8.32 in value.Other key findings included: A job is created for every $3,491 of public support to Florida libraries.Income (wages) increases by $22.97 for every dollar of public support to libraries.The value of all goods and services produced in the state of Florida increases by $10.57 for every dollar of public support to libraries.
  • How is this value calculated? Libraries license high-quality online content through subscription databases (like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Medline, etc), a shared library of downloadable content (like ebooks and audiobooks.)
  • Other valuable services provided for free: DVD rentals and technology training.
  • The average American family spends an average of $118 on books, magazine and newspaper subscriptions per year, most of which would be available to them from their local library. Libraries also often provide access to expensive financial research data, like analyst and stock reports, that the average American couldn’t afford on their own.
  • This plan would help bridge the digital divide, so that even poorer communities, who cannot afford high-tech libraries, can at least have access to the same online resources as other communities, giving them the tools necessary for education and improvement. (The Gates poll also reported that 61% of school-age children living below the poverty line relied on library computers for school projects, and 54% of seniors below the poverty line used them for health and wellness information.)
  • In fact, 73% of libraries are their community’s only source of free computer and internet access (82% in rural areas.)
  • A principal at an Oakland high school had this to say about the way the local library addressed his student’s needs: “100 percent of our graduates are accepted to college…We work with largely disadvantaged and at-risk youth, and they don’t have computers at home, so they come here to the library. They [the students] get support here. The librarians help them attain the online and print materials they need.”
  • (1)The library is the cradle of democracy. (2) The great businessman himself, Malcolm Forbes, extolled its virtues... And (3) Science fiction writer and futurist, Isaac Asimov, sees disaster at hand in the death of the library...
  • We can’t let libraries die, they are the great equalizer, the institution of opportunity, and root of an educated, cultured, tech-savvy and socially connected society.(image credit:
  • Americans spend about 2.5 times as much on salty snacks as they do on public libraries. Aren’t libraries worth a bag of chips to you?
  • Despite the fact that I’m regularly told that the internet has made me obsolete, polling data shows that 92% of Americans expect libraries to be needed in the future and 96% believe that libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.
  • Val forrestal capstone

    1. 1. America’s Public Libraries: A Worthwhile Investment<br />Valerie ForrestalCOMM502 Capstone4/28/11<br />Audience: US Congress<br />
    2. 2. he Library<br />s<br />ead.<br />Long live<br />The Library.<br />
    3. 3. Library use is on the rise:<br />(Last year libraries circulated more items [2.1 billion] than FedEx shipped.)<br />
    4. 4.
    5. 5. <ul><li>Nearly 90% of public library funding comes from local sources
    6. 6. Foreclosures & less home sales = lower property-tax revenues</li></ul>Local Revenue<br />89.89%<br />State Revenue<br />5.06%<br />Federal Revenue<br />0.34%<br />Other Funds <br />(grants, fees & fines)<br /> 4.71%<br />
    7. 7.
    8. 8. In 2009, 4 million Americans were hired for jobs they applied for on library computers.<br />Someone uses library resources to support their small business.<br />
    9. 9. ibraries are among the most efficient of all public services, serving more than 2/3of the public with less than 2% of all tax dollars.<br />
    10. 10. or every $1 spent on the library, a<br />community sees an average of $4 in return.<br />
    11. 11. A 2010 study by the University of West Florida found that:<br />F<br />
    12. 12.
    13. 13.
    14. 14.
    15. 15. In today’s information economy, access to the internet is vital, but...<br />Only 68.5% of Americans have home internet access.<br />Public libraries help bridge the digital divide.<br />
    16. 16.
    17. 17. “<br />100 percent of our graduates are accepted to college... We work with largely disadvantaged and at-risk youth, and they don’t have computers at home, so they come here to the library. They get support here. The librarians help them attain the online and print materials they need.<br />”<br />
    18. 18. here is not such a cradle of democracy upon<br /> the earth as the Free Public Library...  <br /> - Andrew Carnegie<br />The richest person in the world - in fact all the riches in the world - couldn't provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library. - Malcolm Forbes<br />When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself. <br />- Isaac Asimov<br />
    19. 19.
    20. 20. Americans spend 2.5 times as much on salty snacks as they do on public libraries.<br />Aren’t libraries worth a bag of chips to you?<br />
    21. 21. Sources<br /><br /><br />Wolverton, T. (2010). U.S. broadband use climbs. <br /><br /><br /><br /><br />