What’s the value of your Library? It impacts more than your wallet.

Library calculator
When people think of ways libraries save them money, they typically default to the traditional practice of checking out the latest bestsellers vs. having to pay hardcover book prices. While borrowing hard-copy books, CDs, and DVDs and using such digital services as eBooks, digital audiobooks, and streaming music and films does, indeed, save you cash, there are other ways the Library provides value to you – and to countless others in the community.  

How much would you spend on those materials, classes, speaking and cultural events, and other resources without the Library providing access for free? Try out our Library Value Calculator and see how much money we help you keep in your pocket.


Personal savings plus civic value

While the calculator shows your personal savings courtesy of the Library, it doesn’t fully capture the importance and value of libraries to society.

The Kansas City Public Library is many things to many people, delivering an array of vital services and resources – every day, for free. Beyond books, here are just a few ways it betters lives in our community:

Outreach and inclusion   |  Family- (and wallet-) friendly activities  |  Connecting youth with skill-developing opportunities and resources  | Education and lifelong learning  | Bridging the digital divide  |  Providing a pathway to jobs and career development  |  Mind your money   |   Tear down this paywall Healthy bodies, healthy budget  |  Free events featuring varying viewpoints

Lobby stop

Lobby stops bring library materials to seniors at residential housing sites.
The Library offers regular story times for families at our locations. 

Outreach and inclusion

The Library’s mission is to provide access to knowledge for all; but for some in our community, visiting their local library can be a daunting task due to transportation barriers, health conditions, economic limitations, or other challenges. A number of Library Outreach programs aim to reduce obstacles and expenses for these groups and individuals, meeting them directly where the need is. Home Bound Books by Mail connects homebound residents with library books via free mail service. Staff members regularly visit senior residential housing sites through Lobby Stops, a pop-up library that allows residents to browse and check out materials. Area preschool, home child care, and kindergarten sites benefit from Books to Go, which makes free monthly deliveries of age-appropriate books and CDs. And Books to Give puts free books in the hands of youth through community and school events or social service agencies.    

More Outreach services

Family- (and wallet-) friendly activities

Parents know that their neighborhood library is one of the best resources available for entertaining and educating their kids. Free story times, game nights, Friday Night Family Fun events, film screenings, and age-appropriate book recommendations from our children’s librarians are just a few of the ways that families can save money while learning, playing, and growing.        

More kids and family

Connecting youth with skill-developing opportunities and resources

Encouraging teens’ interests and passions not only helps them find outlets for expression; it can also create pathways to future careers. Library teen groups offer programming and activities that build friendships, teach collaboration and teamwork, and promote the value of involvement in the community. Programs like the Digital Media Lab offer access to – and instruction on – using equipment that is prohibitively expensive for the average household; plus it connects them to learning opportunities that help them hone their creative abilities and build technical skills in areas such as video and audio production, robotics, and more.  

More teens

Education and lifelong learning

For many people, libraries serve as a surrogate classroom, giving them a chance to learn at their own pace in their own ways, in person or online. Students can access free homework help with live online tutoring and other resources. Need a place to focus on schoolwork or group projects? Reserve a study room at no cost. Prefer to learn on your laptop? Video courses and tutorials from top providers like Lynda.com are accessible for free with your library card. And programs like Career Online High School offer a path for people to earn accredited high school diplomas or certification in selected career areas.

Online learning 

Bridging the digital divide

Most of us take for granted the convenience of a home computer, mobile device, and internet access. But for the 25 percent of our population who have no connection to the internet, or the 70% of children in the Kansas City School District who can’t go online at home, the Library is an essential resource. Providing free access to public computers and internet has become a key function of libraries in the modern age. And for individuals who need help learning how to use a computer, smartphone, or other digital device, the Library is there to assist. Our Tech Access program provides a suite of services including coaching sessions, classes, and connection to other resources.    

Tech Access 
Tech coach

Tech Coaches provide free, one-on-one tutorials and lessons to patrons who need assistance with a variety of computer or technology questions.
Career Online High School
Career Online High School is a flexible, self-paced program that confers both accredited high school diplomas and certification in selected career paths.

Providing a pathway to jobs and career developmen

Whether it’s a job seeker who needs help writing a resume or a budding entrepreneur seeking assistance in building a business plan, our staff provides guidance in a wide variety of business and career areas. You can visit with us at our H&R Block Business & Career Center, or check out the variety of databases and research tools available to you at no cost with your library card.
Business and career resources

Mind your money

Aside from the everyday savings of using Library resources for free, we can help you find ways to make your dollars work for you. Budgeting resources, financial coaching, consumer protection guidance, and other money management tools are offered by us and through our various community partnership programs.  

Money matters

Tear down this paywall

Staying up to date on local, national, and global events is important, but not everyone can afford subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. The Library provides free access to publications that cover current events, culture, and an array of interests. Through a number of services, anyone with a library card can get paywall-free access to local publications like the Kansas City Star and Kansas City Business Journal, plus digital microfilm archives of the Wall Street Journal. You can also read newspapers from across the world and get transcripts from select TV and radio news programs through the Newspaper Source database.

Newspaper resources

Heart Healthy Line Dancing

Free fitness classes are among the opportunities the Library provides for patrons to pursue their health and wellness goals.
Signature events crowd
Kansas City audiences have opportunities to hear from a wide array of speakers and viewpoints through the Library's free public events.

Healthy bodies, healthy budget

Keeping your mind in good shape is important, but we also want the rest of you to stay healthy. Many of our locations offer free wellness classes – yoga, chronic disease management, fitness and exercise – as well as information sessions about enrolling in Medicare and Medicaid.  And a number of online health and wellness directories and databases are accessible through the Library.  

Health & wellness classes

Free events featuring varying viewpoints

The Library’s signature events offer Kansas City audiences unique opportunities to hear ideas and voices that help us better understand our world and get us thinking about our past, present, and future. Local historians, best-selling authors, global leaders, and other expert speakers visit the Library to share information and stories – with no charge for admission.

Signature events

Ensuring free and open access for all

The Kansas City Public Library gives much to the people of Kansas City through its taxpayer-funded services and programs. To keep meeting public demand and continue serving the community at current levels, the Library Question on the November 6 ballot is asking voters for the first increase in the Library's property tax -based operating levy in 22 years. With levy approval, we can remain an essential resource for all who rely on us.

How will the Library Question impact my property tax?

Learn more about the Library Question at kclibrary.org/election.  

•    About the Library Question >
•    Frequently asked questions >
•    How the Library Question would impact each neighborhood location >