Economic Multipliers (7)  
Do you know what these are?
They help CREATE wealth in systems.
Libraries CAN be economic multipliers – IF you think about them like a TOOL.

The community I live in built a new library several years ago.  A core group of people in this community value education, knowledge and books.

The old library had been built during the Depression era days as one of the projects which was supposed to help get the nation out of the Depression.  It couldn’t do that:  Once a construction project like a library is completed, the jobs are gone too.

What the library DID do is provide a base of wealth (like a tool) for anyone who wanted to take advantage of it (many have).  If you could imagine a hammer sitting in a toolbox never getting used, imagine a library in a community which never got used either.  Neither would create any wealth.  The potential is there but it is in the USE that wealth is created.

The city I live in doesn’t have a lot of megamansions (It did manage to accumulate a few).  But when the library was built, a lot of private funding was used.  If the county (which operates the library system) had been the only entity that valued replacing the old (not very energy efficient in a cold climate) building, the library would not be near as nice (or big).  If a group called the Friends of the Library didn’t constantly hold used book sales (with many of the books donated by the community), the community would not be able to purchase as many books and other resources or hold as many programs.

If you visit the library, you might pass by a window on the outside where you see the statue of a young girl on the wide window sill reading a fairy tale.  On the inside, you'll find a raised carpeted area in front of the window sill with lots of pillows where children (and even adults) can sit and read.  Many people in the community value children and want them to read – A LOT.

The people who value the library know that library systems are a HUGE piece of any nation's wealth:  they give EVERYONE who is MOTIVATED the opportunity to take advantage of knowledge.

ACCESS to the knowledge in libraries is a HUGE piece of building wealth (IF that knowledge is used well).

I’m bringing up libraries in conjunction with economic multipliers for two reasons: 
  • The first obviously is that libraries can be extraordinary economic multipliers (if they are designed and used well).
  • The second isn’t so obvious and that is that if you want good economic multipliers in societies, you must encourage and allow people to accumulate wealth.  If you talk to wealthy people, I’ll bet most of them would say that people are always trying to get them to give everything away (to them).  That is NOT a good way to build bases of wealth.
This site is set up through Google Apps.  Because Google makes money in a lot of different ways, they made it possible to set up this site for virtually nothing (for an American – I must remember where I am).  Because I study economics, I know what the value of that really is.

Not only that, the owners of Google and many, many others value the dissemination of knowledge so much that they have established projects to make books available worldwide as eDocuments (through library systems for individuals who might not be able to afford to buy books).  But, the library systems have to exist – AND people have to use them to help them create economic bases of wealth within their communities.  

In our new library (and other libraries across the nation), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Microsoft owners) bought the original bank of computers AND provided training manuals for them.  I’ve worked on computers for years (usually without reading the manuals – see Preparation Rocks!) so I didn’t bother reading them.  Who knows what I might have learned if I had.

Just recognize:  You’re reading this text today because Microsoft and Google – and many, many other companies which BUILT bases of wealth – created opportunities for me AND a lot of others.  You’re reading this text today because a lot of people in my community value libraries (AND invest in them).

If you live in a community that doesn’t have a good library system, I’d encourage you to help start building one.  And, if you want to CREATE wealth in your community, MAKE SURE it gets used.

I’ve included a photo link to the library’s window sill in my photo album dedicated to laziness (see below).  Libraries are the laziest (and most cost effective) way you can give resource limited BUT MOTIVATED people an education with the ability to literally access a world of knowledge.

I’ll go back to something I wrote in my eBook:  Solitary Confinement:  ‘Never, ever destroy the motivation of a kid (or adult) who likes to work!’

Instead, give them something really, really great to work in and on.
Statue on the window sill (OPEN)