Heights Libraries has once again 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. The just-released Star Library report is based on 2019 statistics, so does not reflect the impact COVID-19 has had on public libraries since spring 2020.
Heights Libraries has earned the five-star designation in 11 out of the 14 years that Library Journal has published the rating (the Library received a four-star rating in two of the years, and was not rated one year). 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 criteria such as circulation of physical items, visits, program attendance, public computer use, WiFi sessions, and eMedia circulation such as eBooks.
Heights Libraries circulation came in at 32.3 circulations per capita in its service area of 57,867 residents, up from a previous high of 30.33, meaning that roughly 32 items were circulated for every resident in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights service area. Visits per capita averaged 12.35, program attendance averaged .97 (up from .89) and public computer use was 3.89, WiFi sessions were 5.88 (up from 2.37), and eMedia circulation was 3.52 (up from 2.56).
“These numbers reflect our best year ever, statistically speaking,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “In 2019, we had our highest circulation ever in our history, just a little over 2 million items loaned or downloaded. That high will make next year’s COVID-influenced stats a shock, so for now we’re just enjoying this bright spot in a very challenging year.”
Levin added, “But even now, with COVID restrictions, our community members are still borrowing items, attending virtual and socially-distanced programs, taking advantage of reopened study rooms and seating areas, getting help on the phone and in person with things like reference questions, tech questions, and printing services. People’s need for us hasn’t changed—if anything, they need us now more than ever.”
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, 34 vs. 27, respectively.