Research report investigates public-library funding

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Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) has released findings from a research study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Part of a $1.2 million grant, the report was designed to identify factors that both drive and limit local library funding support in the USA.

Entitled, From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America, the report found that most people are unaware of how their local libraries are funded, that library financial support is only marginally related to library visitation, and that voters who believe that the library is a transformational force, rather than a source of information, are more likely to support an increase in library funding.

Some 80 per cent of US public-library funding comes from local funding sources. Like other public services, libraries are facing increased financial strain. Library visitation is up, but the rate at which library referenda are being placed on the ballot and passing has decreased steadily in the last decade.