Public libraries are generally viewed as an unqualified public good. However, the way libraries are operated across Canada varies considerably between major jurisdictions. Some libraries are funded directly by the province or territory while others are funded through the local community or regional government with subsidies from the province or territory. These libraries sometime have Boards which are answerable to the local community or they may be answerable to a provincial authority or the Minister of the funding Department.
The purpose of this study will be to compare on a macro scale the structures which provide governance for community libraries across Canada (or comparing selected portions) and then use available funding stats (Municipal, regional and provincial/territorial) and circulation and branch activity stats to measure the impact governance has on the effectiveness of community library operations.
The hypothesis is that branches with a greater degree of local governance will also exhibit more effective delivery of library services (Higher circulation, more patron visits, more public programs and higher program attendance, etc.)