Library earns top national rating for eighth consecutive year
For the eighth year in a row, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System has received five stars—the highest possible rating—in Library Journal's annual Index of Public Library Service.
Heights Libraries has earned five stars in eight out of the nine years that Library Journal has published its ratings, beginning in 2008. Library Journal, a trade journal that reports news about the library world, emphasizing public libraries, has a circulation of 100,000.
The publication categorizes libraries by yearly expenditure and rates them on five criteria: circulation, visits, program attendance, Internet terminal use (public computers), and, new this year, eCirc (eMedia, such as eBooks).
Heights Libraries circulation came in at 30.75 per capita, meaning that roughly 31 items were circulated for every resident in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights service area. Visits per capita averaged 18, program attendance averaged 1.21 (down a bit from 1.3 in 2015), and public computer use rose slightly, from 5 per capita in 2015 to 5.03 in 2016. The rate for eCirc was 5.03 per capita.
“To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the death of the public library has been an exaggeration,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin, smiling. “Every few years or so, the question of the relevancy of libraries in the digital age is raised. But these numbers make it clear that our community continues to want and to need our services. Our customers range from retirees and teens attending cultural programs, to new parents visiting our early-literacy play areas, to low-income customers using our computers to apply for government benefits or jobs.”
Levin explained, “This continual need is the reason we decided to upgrade and expand our University Heights branch this year. All of our buildings are heavily used by customers of all ages, and they deserve a library that will continue to give five-star service.”
Heights Libraries is one of four Cuyahoga County libraries to earn a five-star award in 2016. The others are Cleveland Public, Cuyahoga County and Lakewood libraries
The entire state of Ohio did well, compared to the rest of the nation: Ohio was second only to New York in terms of the number of libraries that received star ratings, 25 vs. 35, respectively.
To read the full report on America’s star libraries for 2016, visit lj.libraryjournal.com.
Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.