For the sixth year in a row, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library system has received the highest possible rating in the Library Journal’s 2014 Index of Public Library Service. The five-star rating is given to the top U.S. libraries each year.
Heights Libraries has earned five stars in six out of the seven years that Library Journal has published the ratings, starting in 2008. Library Journal is a trade journal that reports news about the library world, emphasizing public libraries, and has a nation-wide circulation of 100,000.
Libraries are categorized by yearly expenditure and rated on four criteria: circulation, visits, program attendance, and Internet terminal use (public computers). Heights Libraries circulation came in at 31.5 per capita in our service area, meaning that roughly 31 items were circulated for every resident in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights service area. Visits per capita averaged 19.5 (up from 18.8 for 2013), program attendance averaged 1.1 (up from 0.8 in 2013), and public computer use came in at 5 per capita.
“This shows what we’ve known all along: people in our community are using the library regularly,” says Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “For many customers we’ve become that ‘third place,’ the place besides work and home where they like to be. We are always busy, and I don’t see that trend reversing anytime soon.”
Levin continues, “Our community depends on us more than ever for everything from free entertainment with books and DVDs and fun programs, to more crucial things like access to the Internet, employment and business resources, free computer classes, and resources to encourage early literacy and help kids do their homework.”
Heights Libraries wasn’t the only other Cuyahoga County area library receiving Star Awards; other area libraries to win are Cleveland Public (4 stars), Shaker Heights (3), Cuyahoga County (5 stars), and Lakewood (5 stars).
The entire State of Ohio did well in general, compared to the rest of the nation: Ohio was second only to New York State in terms of the number of libraries that received star ratings, 27 vs. 36, respectively. “One reason for this superb showing in our state is continued public support for libraries from Ohio’s residents,” says Levin.
The entire report on America’s star libraries can be found at Library Journal’s website, lj.libraryjournal.com.