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borrowIT CT: Impact

borrowIT CT is a cooperative borrowing program among the state's public libraries.

Through the borrowIT CT program, the 1,403,536 Connecticut residents with library cards can check out items from any and all of the 191 public libraries in the state, even if they don't live in that town.

Program Expenditures State Funding Federal Funding Other Funding Total Funding Value of the 3.473.451 Items Borrowed
Actual FY20 $703,638 $0 $0 $703,638 $52,100,000
Actual FY21 $703,638 $0 $0 $703,638

All borrowIT funding goes directly to the local library, and those libraries that lend more items to non-residents receive more reimbursement. A library also receives a bonus when the number of items it lends to non-residents exceeds the number of items its card-holders borrow from other libraries. Why? To reward those who put more of their resources into the program than they receive in benefits. Also, by making library materials more accessible to more people, the cost efficiency of each library’s collections is higher. 

Download the borrowIT CT Report Creator [Excel] to create a report on any library's borrowIT CT 2020 loans & borrows to specific libraries, as well as the history of the library's borrowIT activity during the past 13 years. Also calculates the estimated impact of funding cuts since 2011 for each library.

FY20 borrowIT Statistics

  • Libraries loaned 3,473,451 items to residents of other towns in FY2020.
  • If the hometown libraries had to purchase all the items their patrons borrowed through the borrowIT program, it would cost them over $52 million dollars (at $15/item).
  • 18% of all circulation in Connecticut public libraries is by non-residents.
  • The 1,403,536 Connecticut residents with library cards may borrow from any of the 191 public libraries in Connecticut. This gives them access to 14 million items, 86% of which are books.
  • Libraries are currently reimbursed an average of just $0.20 per transaction, a drop from $0.27 per transaction in 2008, and well short of the average cost of $1.05 per transaction to lend to non-residents (not including the cost of the item).
  • Funding for borrowIT has dropped back to just 57% of the 2008 appropriation in real dollars and 47% in inflation-adjusted dollars.
  • The total number of items loaned over the history of the program, 1974-2020, is 150,512,718.

Libraries that lend the most to non-residents receive higher payments because they also contribute more of their own resources to the program.

Examples of How borrowIT Benefits Patrons

While the E.C. Scranton Library building in Madison was closed for a major renovation from October 2018 to September 2020, library services were relocated to a small, rented space in a different part of town. In the 2016 reporting period, Madison had been ranked at #36 out of 191 for use of the borrowIT service. But in 2020, their ranking was #2, as Madison residents relied on libraries in neighboring towns (Clinton, Killingworth, Guilford, North Branford) while their library was under construction. 

Additional examples:

  • A businesswoman who lives in one town and works in another can use the library where she works.
  • A man interested in reading a book that is not available in his local library is able to drive to a neighboring library and get it immediately.
  • An entire class is given the same assignment, quickly depleting the resources at their local library. Students can visit neighboring libraries to find the materials needed to complete their homework.
  • A family's first language is Polish. Their local library doesn't have the resources to buy Polish books, but they are able to use a neighboring library with a strong Polish collection.

Sample from the borrowIT CT Report Creator [Excel] of the estimated impact of funding cuts since 2011 for Manchester Public Library:

chart showing estimated impact of borrowIT funding

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