December 11, 2017

All-Time All-Stars | LJ Index 2017

Over the ten editions of this article, 606 libraries have been named Star Libraries in one or more years. A total of 69 received Stars in each of the ten editions. Of those, 13 U.S. public libraries earned five-Star ratings each and every year. We invited them to comment on the distinction, and many responded.


Ann Arbor District Library, MI

Josie Parker, Director

More than 15 years ago, we committed to developing a culture of generosity within the library and for the benefit of the community. The policies adopted by our elected board of trustees for an independent taxing unit gave AADL flexibility to innovate without fear of failure. Our mission to be ahead of our public wherever they find the library has worked for us, and ten years of five-Star ratings helps validate this commitment and effort. We’re proud to be among the 13 best public libraries in the U.S.


Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL

Mike Driskell,
Acting Executive Director

We continue to remain strong in visits, circulation, and program attendance. We attribute this to exceptional staff and an engaged community that strongly supports the library. This award is really about being in tune with our community and providing the services they want, when they want them. Responsive change to align services with needs is key to receiving this award year after year. Our mission is to identify the services and programs that our residents need and do whatever we can to make them happen.


Avalon Free Public Library, NJ

Erin Brown, Director

Avalon’s status as a coastal resort community creates a unique environment for municipal library operations. The staff’s and trustees’ responsive approach to service has grown library use dramatically in the organization’s short history and established the library as a year-round community hub. The library embraced electronic collections and their circulation early on, and as the statistics indicate, the community has supported these innovations wholeheartedly.


Grand Marais Public Library, MN

Steve Harsin, Director

A community of avid readers and highly educated retirement-age residents pushes us to maintain quality service. As a resort destination, we experience a slack season. Focusing programming during those quieter winter months helps to balance traffic flow through the year. Our funding bodies support the library: they renovated and nearly doubled the footprint of our library in 2012 and increased staffing in 2017. Such strong support makes it possible for us to offer significant collections of current material in a rural area. Meanwhile, the strength of the Minnesota library networks, both Arrowhead Library System regionally and Minitex at the state level, make it easy to obtain materials we don’t own, which feeds user expectations that “if GMPL can’t get it, it doesn’t exist.”


Grandview Heights Public Library, OH

Ryan McDonnell, Director

The library is very proactive in engaging the community by collaborating with the schools, city, community groups, and local institutions. Thanks to these partnerships, the Grandview Heights Public Library has been able to offer exciting new projects like the PopUp Library, Wi-Fi in the Parks, the Guitar Lending Program, and Mobile Exhibits. Event attendance continues to be strong thanks to these collaborations, along with enhancements to marquee events like the 33rd Annual Music on the Lawn, 28th Annual Music in the Atrium, Summer Reading Club events, tenth Annual Yappy Hour, and fifth Annual Howlin’ Halloween.


Lincoln Public Library, NH

Carol Riley, Director

This recognition is a direct result of our active community of library users and of the town of Lincoln’s—and our staff’s—strong commitment to quality library service. The areas that we have seen the most impact from this recognition would have to be in program attendance and circulation statistics. We have many people come into the library to ask us about the sign we have outside, wondering, “What makes you a five-Star Library?” And we answer: “YOU!”


Middle Country Public Library,
Centereach & Selden, NY

Sophia Serlis-McPhillips, Director

Our library is very engaged with its users and stays connected through a variety of outreach efforts and by continually assessing the programs and services we provide. By listening and responding to the needs and wants of our patrons, the Middle Country Public Library has gained a level of trust enabling us to become an anchor institution, serving as a meeting place, a village center, and the heart of the community.

The library is in a continual state of metamorphosis; as the community and its needs change, library services and programs evolve accordingly. By identifying emerging trends and areas of interest, we’ve spearheaded new services, developed successful programs, and provided training and educational opportunities for patrons to expand their skills. Some of our most innovative initiatives and programs include the Miller Business Center, Family Place Libraries, the Nature Explorium, Museum Corner, and the Teen Resource Center.


Naperville Public Library, IL

Julie Rothenfluh, Executive Director

When people ask me about being a five-Star library, I tell them it’s a two-sided coin. On one side is our community—they love the library and are heavy library users. They check out materials (physical and digital), come for programs, use computers, and use our space. The other side of the coin is our staff. They consistently provide our community with reasons to come back to the library.

One of the biggest areas of our success is circulation. Over the years, we’ve witnessed the changing trends in librarianship supporting evidence-based collection management and the processes designed to support the “give ’em what they want” philosophy. This direction has been supported by a healthy materials budget, allowing us to purchase multiple copies of popular items and support low-hold ratios that keep materials in users’ hands.


Wellfleet Public Library, MA

Jennifer Wertkin, Director

Our staff take great care in developing a collection that is of high interest to both our community and our consortium; some is unique to our library. Additionally, Wellfleet is widely known as a place where poets, artists, musicians, and other creative people are part of the fabric of the community. Some of our collection is built around this. Although we are a very small library, our materials circulate widely, and we are pleased to serve our community so effectively.

We also work hard to present high-interest programs that attract community members of all ages. These include lectures, classes, performances, readings, receptions, and other events that are both informative and entertaining. We also know that our continued five-star status would not be possible without the Friends, trustees, staff, and patrons of the Wellfleet Public Library. This distinction belongs to all of us.


Wilkinson Public Library, Telluride, CO

Sarah Landeryou, Director

We are preparing to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the election win (a two-vote margin) that provided the bond to build our current facility. Twenty years ago, it was difficult to imagine the success that our library would have, but the vision of our board, director, staff, and community plays out every day at our bustling library, where we provide a wide variety of services seven days a week.

The Wilkinson Public Library serves locals and visitors alike with a quirky, independent, and welcoming spirit. Perhaps it is our secluded location, literally in a box canyon, that propels us to think out of the box to provide services, programs, and resources to match our spectacular scenery.

Our library listens to the community and responds. We just completed a renovation to provide additional meeting rooms, an improved teen area, and more seating in “quiet zones.” We also have ramped up our outreach and services for the Spanish-speaking community and couldn’t be more pleased and proud of our efforts, hosting our first “One Book, One Canyon” read featuring Reyna Grande and The Distance Between Us [Washington Square], a memoir on immigration and its challenges.

 

» Next page: “All the Stars, State by State”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Keith Curry Lance About Keith Curry Lance

Keith Curry Lance (keithlance@comcast.net) is an independent consultant
based in suburban Denver. He also consults with the Colorado-based
RSL Research Group. In both capacities, he conducts research on libraries
of all types for state library agencies, state library associations, and
other library-related organizations. For more information,
visit www.KeithCurryLance.com.

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