The role libraries can play in economic development is often discussed in terms of the resources we offer - databases, books,workshops, meeting rooms, computers and wireless Internet, etc. Examples include this article from Kiplinger about a year ago, or the concept of the "entrepreneurium" referenced in the R. David Lankes presentation I blogged about last week.
Less common is to hear how the mere presence of a library can foster economic development by generating foot traffic and attracting people to commercial areas. I've seen a few references to this in professional journals, and a local developer of a "senior" condominium development highlighted the benefits of proximity to the library in some of his advertising, but I've never seen anything like this website for a mixed-use (residential and commercial) development in Everett, Washington - in which everything from the name to the clever use of "library" terminology and imagery is intended to highlight the benefit of living next door to the public library...the website even has a link to the library's website.
PVLD Librarian Jim O'Grady (and native Washingtonian) shared the link to the Library Place website, and also passed on this quote from the local newspaper - [The project developer] noted that the adjacent library had 400,000 visitors last year that could also be potential customers.
In a commercial district like the one in which our Peninsula Center Library is located, where retail businesses struggle even in the best of times, we need to keep reminding people that things would be much worse without the anchor of the library and its 600,000 visitors each year.