The Salt Lake County Library System reaped a big return on a $7,280 investment last year.

The investment was the system's volunteer program in which some 598 participants donated 16,414 hours. That donation carried a monetary value of $123,144, said Eileen Longsworth, library system director. She noted that volunteer efforts free regular librarians to better serve the public.Longsworth said the system spent about $7,280 for supplies and staff supervision time to run the program, a net savings of $115,864. She estimates that supervision time involved about one hour of staff time for every 17 hours of donated time.

"This is an example of how a well-organized volunteer program can increase staff efficiency, improve customer service and result in significant savings for taxpayers," Longsworth said.

Volunteers included students and youth service groups, professional consultants, federally funded volunteer workers and court-ordered community service workers, who made up the largest group.

For more information about the library system's volunteer program call 943-4636.