Joining the Constellation: New 4- and 5-Star Libraries
Denver Public Library, a new 4-Star Library
Responding to this news, City Librarian Shirley Amore said, “We are honored to be recognized as a 4-Star Library by Library Journal, especially since the rankings were based on 2011 data, a time when we were burdened with significantly reduced budgets, allowing us to be open only 32 hours a week at most of our 25 locations.
“In 2013, we have been able to increase our service hours by 40 percent due to community support of a local ballot measure. Library attendance, computer use, event participation, and circulation are all on the rise, and we hope to join the illustrious group of 5-Star libraries in the near future.”
Henrico County Public Library, a New 4-Star Library
According to Director Jerry McKenna, “Henrico County Public Library, VA, thrives due to support from and partnerships with local government and the community. In 2011, the Glen Allen Branch Library reopened after a complete renovation, which expanded it from 12,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet.
“Henrico County’s 400th anniversary [was in 2011], and the library was active in the celebration, including an All Henrico Reads event featuring David Baldacci and creating the Notable Henricoans Database of over 200 noteworthy Henrico citizens, which continues as an online resource on the library’s website. While citizens enjoy this new resource, students use it heavily as well, fulfilling new assignments about local history from their teachers.
“Computer access continued to increase in popularity, especially as many began cutting back on personal expenses at home.”
Ela Area Public Library District, a New 5-Star Library
Matt Womack, executive director of Ela Area Public Library District, IL, reported that “2011 was a terrific year for our library. We made significant investments in our RFID, materials handling, and self-checkout systems. Not only did the new system resolve a pesky customer service issue, it also increased self-checkouts by ten percent almost immediately. We provided several unique programs and exhibits as well, including a terrific Harry Potter’s Word exhibit that we borrowed from the National Institutes of Health. This exhibit helped increase program attendance by more than 33 percent over the previous year. We implemented a music download service and also increased contributions to our ebook collections, boosting activity for downloads. Together, these projects created a lot of excitement in the community, and our metrics soared as a result.”
From 4-star to 5-star
Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library
According to Director Kim Fender, “2011 was the first year of our new strategic plan. When developing this plan, we took a different approach, involving hundreds of staff in idea workshops to suggest actions that would help us achieve our objectives and soliciting input from our cardholders as well. As a result of staff and customer input, we increased the number of copies of high-demand titles we purchased, added cards for children and teens that have no fines and don’t require parental permission, and fully embraced digital content. Circulation, visits, program attendance and computer use all increased to record levels.”
Kansas City Public Library
“The Kansas City Public Library, MO, is proud and gratified to be named a 5-Star Library by Library Journal,” according to Director Crosby Kemper III. “In recent years, our programming, funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and others, has created a sense of intellectual and civic excitement in our community and brought tens of thousands of people into the library. Our outreach programs, Books To Go and Stories To Go programs, expanded dramatically as we developed our Building a Community of Readers initiative, and we are reaching more children, teens, and adults than ever before. Great spaces, great librarians, great programs help build a great city.”