Public libraries budgets

Libraries have a social and economic impact which takes on several forms, the most obvious ones being the direct employment of staff and the outlet they are for booksellers, document providers, but also equipment makers and providers, service providers or industry building. The examination of the budgets of municipal libraries allows to establish a first evaluation of this economic weight, and to bring out an apparent paradox : budget increases do not always improve the service towards users. Other realities, more diffuse, can be seen from an economic point of view : some notions, not well controlled, such as information cost or value added to a library document ; the influence, difficult to measure, a library can have : service for the public, consequences of a politics of reading development, cultural promotion of a town and its fallouts. These elements distort every attempt to compare library to concern and show that the notion of profitability is not applicable to libraries.