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Valuing Public Libraries in New Brunswick

Category(s): Social Policy, Economy and Labour
Status: Active
Principal: Hugh Shiplett
Project Number: P0115
Year Approved: 2023

Project Description

The project will analyze NB-IRDT’s linked administrative data. First, we will provide a descriptive analysis characterizing the NB public library service’s users in terms of gender, age, education, and geography, as well as language, immigration, and socio-economic status. We will also quantitatively describe how usership has changed over time with the roll-out of online services, as well as the onset and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This descriptive work will allow us to quantitatively evaluate the current reach and penetration of public library services in New Brunswick and will also provide the foundation for identifying valid treatment and control groups for subsequent impact analysis. Second, we will analyze the effects of library use on immigrant retention, health and social service usage, and educational outcomes. Rich data on outcomes will be provided through the individual linkage of NB-IRDT administrative micro data sources. 

These results, along with supplementary data on operational costs and estimates from the published literature, will then be used as inputs into a cost-benefit analysis of public library services in New Brunswick.