For the ninth year in a row, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library system has received the highest possible rating in Library Journal’s 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 nine out of the ten years that Library Journal has published the rating. 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 five criteria: circulation, visits, program attendance, Internet terminal use (public computers), and eCirc (eMedia like eBooks). Heights Libraries circulation came in at 29.3 per capita in our service area, meaning that roughly 29 items were circulated for every resident in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights service area. Visits per capita averaged 17, program attendance averaged 1.2 and public computer use was 4.8.
“This shows what we’ve always known: people in our community are using the library more than ever,” says Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “For many customers we’re 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, “On any given day, at any branch, you’ll find people with a wide variety of needs being satisfied: Internet access to apply for jobs or benefits, books and early literacy information for their little ones, a free computer class to help them keep their job skills fresh, or an interesting program that gives them something to think about.”
Heights Libraries wasn’t the only Cuyahoga County area library to receive a five-star award; other libraries to win are Cleveland Public Library (5 stars), Cuyahoga County (5 stars), and Westlake’s Porter Public Library(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, 25 vs. 31, respectively.
The entire report on America’s star libraries can be found at Library Journal’s website, lj.libraryjournal.com.