Libraries save NHS £27.5m per year

New research published by Arts Council England has found a link between libraries and wellbeing and between library use and good health. The research found that being a regular library user is associated with a 1.4% increase in the likelihood of reporting good general health – this was calculated as equating to a cost-saving of £27.5m each year for the NHS.

The research – carried out by SImetrica specifically looked at the value of the health and wellbeing benefits of library engagement measured through economic value, using methods that are consistent with the HM Treasury Green Book guidance. Analysis of the health and subjective wellbeing data nationally available found that library use is positively associated with subjective wellbeing after controlling for a wide range of other factors. Library usage is associated with higher life satisfaction, higher happiness and a higher sense of purpose in life (although usage was also associated with higher levels of anxiety).