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Local Government Strategies for Public Libraries

I thought that these three reports and readings might be useful to my colleagues in public library land:

Investing in the Future: An Economic Strategy for State and Local Governments in a Period of Tight Budgets
by The Hamilton Project Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney (Feb. 2011) from the Brookings Institution

(27 page PDF)

“Confronting near-term budget challenges, state and local governments are under tremendous pressure to focus on immediate needs at the expense of long-term investments. While these difficult economic times have also caused significant budget pressures at the national level, the federal government is able to spread out the impact of these pressures by running a deficit—a burden for the future obvious to all in the level of public debt. State and local governments, on the other hand, are generally required to balance their budgets every year. The legacy left by their budget troubles is less evident, but no less significant, and can be measured by delayed capital projects, cuts in education, and other deferred spending in investments with long-run payoffs—forgone investment that places our children’s standard of living at risk.

In this paper, The Hamilton Project highlights four policy principles for state and local governments with an emphasis on the importance of infrastructure investments for economic growth and prosperity. First, budgets should prioritize and protect key investments lest today’s budget woes translate into weak economic conditions and weak tax revenues tomorrow. Second, state and local governments must act to use their existing infrastructure resources more efficiently by investing in maintenance and using road pricing and user fees to address problems like congestion. Third, to maximize the value of new spending, projects should be subject to rigorous cost-benefit analysis and evaluation to guarantee that the projects with the greatest returns are the ones that are chosen. Fourth, good governance requires transparent and accessible budgeting. Timely, accurate, and standardized financial reporting by governments would facilitate taxpayer oversight, help protect future budget resources, and even reduce borrowing costs.”

Metropolitan Areas and the Next Economy: A 50-State Analysis
by at the Brookings Institution

Download the Full Analysis here. (3 page PDF)

“An analysis of 2009 data on U.S. metropolitan areas’ contribution to state populations and economies, including a focus on key attributes that can drive the next round of U.S. economic growth, finds that:

In 47 out of 50 states, metropolitan areas generate the majority of state economic output.

In 15 states, one large metropolitan area alone accounts for the bulk of economic output.

The most innovative and educated workers in states cluster in metro areas.

In 30 states, metro areas among the 100 largest nationwide generate a majority of internationally exported goods and services.

Metropolitan areas nationwide boast disproportionate shares of the assets that will drive the next wave of U.S. economic growth.”

See this interactive map to click on your state.

Regional and State Unemployment, 2010 Annual Average Summary (14 page PDF)

News release: “Annual average unemployment rates in 2010 rose in 31 states and the District of Columbia, declined in 18 states, and remained the same in 1 state, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Employment-population ratios decreased in 43 states and the District of Columbia, increased in 3 states, and were unchanged in 4 states. Jobless rates increased in three regions and decreased in one, and employment-population ratios declined in all four regions in 2010. The U.S. jobless rate rose by 0.3 percentage point from the prior year to 9.6 percent, while the national employment population ratio fell by 0.8 point to 58.5 percent.”

I think that the data above and the perspectives on local strategies shows some of the thinking and language being used in local governments. Libraries can always be part of the solution as long as they speak up.

What’s the old cliche? You’re either invited to be at the table or you’re the dinner.


p.s. Small Gale plug here for the Career Transitions knowledge portal. It is already making huge differences in library employment support and job finding strategies. Ask your Gale account manager about it.

Posted on: March 1, 2011, 9:02 pm Category: Uncategorized

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