Library Savings Calculator

How much does the library save you?

We all know that public libraries are truly invaluable - their contribution to society can't be represented in dollars and cents. However, it can be interesting to calculate how much money you save by using the library. How much would you pay out-of-pocket for library services each month?

In the left hand column, enter the number of times you and your family use each library service each month. The estimated retail value of each service will be calculated on the right. The total value of your library use is shown at the bottom of the worksheet.

Your Family's
Use per Month

Standard Library Services

Value of

This Library Savings Calculator was adapted from the Maine State Library.

Was your total greater than $5.40? That's about how much the Hennepin County Library's operating budget costs per resident each month last year. Please take a moment to let us know your estimated monthly savings by using the form below.

Read What Others Have Said and Saved

Mary from Bloomington (reported a monthly savings of $80):I think the $80 calculation is low. Many of the books and CDs have a much higher retail. I LOVE the library on line and the hold feature I usually keep 10 to 15 books/audiobooks in the pipeline. It literally takes about 3 minutes to pick up my held books from the hold shelf, self check them out and be on my way. The addition of Sunday hours is great!

Sara from Minneapolis (reported a monthly savings of $160): I could never afford to be as educated as I am without my public library. I just read too much to be able to buy all those books on my salary! Thank you, thank you, library!

Paul from Minneapolis (reported a monthly savings of $82): I love the library!!! I work near the downtown location and visit multiple times per month. What a great service.

Molly from Excelsior (reported a monthly savings of $400): I am a self-employed writer and teacher of writing; and the public library supports my work in so many ways. My partner is an artist, and the library provides her with tons of resources for her work as well…Thank you so much for everything you do -- our lives are richer because of your efforts.

Lorenzo from Edina (reported a monthly savings of $100): I could not live without the library. I have been an avid user since 1 grade.

Carole from Minnetonka (reported a monthly savings of $193): I love this calculator - really helps us all see the VALUE provided by our libraries… This year I decided to donate to the library through their Foundation - I figure if I can spare a few extra dollars, my library will be more likely to be able to give so much to me and my fellow neighbors in Hennepin County.

Gangadhar from Minneapolis (reported a monthly savings of $450): I love the Hennepin County Libraries. They have all the books I need. My son is a voracious reader of books and HCLIB is the only way I can feed him his need for books.

Audrey from St. Louis Park (reported a monthly savings of $270): My commitment to reading a book from the library rather than buying it has probably saved me enough to buy a car over the years. Well worth the small pittance I pay in taxes each year to keep the libraries open and available. And I haven't even begun to calculate the savings from doing online genealogical research through the library's databases.

Ann from Plymouth (reported a monthly savings of $135): Using the Library is a great way to teach my children that they don't need to own everything -- they can take turns and share with others, saving money and reducing the amount of "stuff" we maintain.

Jennifer from Minneapolis (reported a monthly savings of $176): I spent hours in the library as a kid, checking out armloads of books (literally) in the summer. As an adult, I continue to cherish what the library does for us, and believe it is the great equalizer.

Amy from Minneapolis (reported a monthly savings of $450): The library is guilt-free. If I start reading a book and don't like it, I don't feel guilty for spending $20 on something I won't read... I just return it!

Michael from Maple Grove (reported a monthly savings of $45): Buying children's books in the store is quite expensive (even though the books are quite small). I have checked out well over a hundred children's books in the last few years (much to the delight of my boys, who love books). My boys' reading skills are well above average, and I partially credit the public library system for supplying a constant flow of excellent books for them to read.

Stephanie from Plymouth (reported a monthly savings of $525): I have a physical disability that makes it difficult to access the other libraries in my area. I've been using your [At Home] Outreach program for close to a year now and think it's wonderful.

Christine from Minneapolis (reported a monthly savings of $285): I can't imagine life without a library. My husband and I talk, very rarely, about moving and the #1 reason why I can't imagine moving is because I have a library within a 10 minute walk and I won't live without it!