Public libraries are taking on business ventures that involve the selling of products and services. Most common are food services but these are primarily for customer and staff convenience rather than profit as they generally earn less than 0.25 percent of a library’s operating budget. The real income is in services, as in managing libraries at other institutions (Martin Library, York, PA), which earns nearly half of the library’s operating budget, or services such as issuing passports, and establishing a virtual university (Palm Springs Public Library, Palm Springs, CA) which are estimated to earn 15 to 20 percent of the library’s operating budget. In considering business ventures libraries should pay attention to the following considerations ‐ the library’s mission, its capability, the financial impact, legal aspects, community relations value, and professional and ethical issues.
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