CALS Impact Analysis Report

A lot of us instinctively recognize the value added to individuals and communities by a strong public library offering access to a wide array of resources on various digital and physical platforms. With that we can enrich, educate, and entertain children and adults. We can boost literacy, lifelong learning, and cultural awareness. And we can help elevate job seekers and under resourced entrepreneurs.

What is less intuitively clear is the economic impact of the Central Arkansas Library System. Last year, CALS engaged a local consulting firm, Boyette Strategic Advisors, to study the period of 2010-19 and report on the measurable economic impact CALS had on the Little Rock MSA. Relying on nationally normed statistical methods and CALS’s employment, operational spending, capital investments, and retail sales data, Boyette Strategic has recently determined that the total economic impact of CALS over this ten-year period exceeded one billion dollars.

Local and state tax revenues received by CALS during the period totaled approximately $159 million. Those dollars generated over $1B in direct, indirect, and induced economic impact, meaning that for every dollar of public money, CALS returned $5.28 of economic impact, in addition to the qualitative social impact we more readily think of when considering the value of the public library to our community.

We will continue to look for new ways to enhance the economic and social impact of the public library. In the meantime, I am very pleased to be able to share the attached report that documents a robust return on the taxpayers’ investment in CALS.


Nate Coulter
Executive Director