December 2, 2016

Ray Lyons & Keith Curry Lance

About Ray Lyons & Keith Curry Lance

Ray Lyons (raylyons@gmail.com) is an independent consultant and statistical programmer in Cleveland. His articles on library statistics and assessment have also appeared in Public Library Quarterly, Public Libraries, and Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. He blogs on library statistics and assessment at libperformance.com.
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 http://www.KeithCurryLance.com.

America’s Star Libraries, 2016: Top-Rated Libraries

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We are pleased to announce the results of the ninth edition of the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, sponsored by Baker & Taylor’s Bibliostat. The LJ Index rates U.S. public libraries based on selected per capita output measures. The 2016 LJ Index derives from data recently released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for FY14.

LJ Index 2016: Next Year’s New Statistic: Wi-Fi

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Although IMLS has begun collecting data on Wi-Fi access usage, we did not include Wi-Fi use this year because there are ten states whose data reporting schedules mean that they will always be one year behind the other 41 in reporting any new data element. While we reluctantly excluded libraries from one state this year in order to introduce e-circ to the LJ Index, excluding libraries in ten was unthinkable.

LJ Index 2016: Every Star Library Ever Named

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This year we are again posting a detailed spreadsheet (link below) listing every Star Library award given since the inaugural edition of the LJ Index in February 2009. We have rated U.S. public libraries annually since then, and twice in that initial year due to scheduling of the release of the 2006 data. (That year the responsibility for releasing the Public Libraries in the United States Survey had transferred from the National Center for Educational Statistics to the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS).

LJ Index 2016: The Star Libraries by Expenditure Category

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The LJ Index is based on five types of per capita use they generate: visits, circulation, ecirculation, public access computer use, and program attendance. Star Library ratings of five, four, and three stars are awarded to libraries that generate the highest combined per capita outputs among their spending peers.

LJ Index 2016: What is E-Circ and Why Did We Add It?

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Historically, the four measures included in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service (sponsored by Baker & Taylor’s Bibliostat) have been circulation, library visits, program attendance, and public Internet computer use. Now, the design of the LJ Index is beginning to evolve. The stars have finally aligned to add a fifth statistical measure to the scoring—circulation of electronic materials, or e-circ for short. Because the LJ Index is based on data collected by the Public Libraries Survey (PLS)—a federal-state cooperative project of IMLS and the state library agencies—the Index could not add new measures until PLS did.

LJ Index 2016: Find Your Library

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Whether or not your library has been given a Star rating, you can benefit from finding peers in your expenditure category and comparing statistics.

LJ Index 2016: All the Stars, State by State

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Click a state on our map, or use the drop-down to jump to the Star libraries in that state.

America’s Star Libraries, 2014: Top-Rated Libraries

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We are very pleased to announce the results of the seventh edition of the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, sponsored by Baker & Taylor’s Bibliostat. The LJ Index is a measurement tool that compares U.S. public libraries with their spending peers based on four types of output measures of their per capita use. When the LJ Index and its Star Library ratings were introduced in 2008, our hope was that whether libraries were awarded stars or not, they would examine these statistics more closely—both for their own library and for their peers—and make fuller use of these and other types of data for local planning and evaluation purposes. In the meantime, however, another type of data has come to the fore—outcomes. Here we will explore what some of this year’s Star Libraries are doing with outcome measures.

LJ Index 2014: The Star Libraries

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Despite the promotion of outcome-based evaluation by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) almost from its inception in 1996, the difference among an input, an output, and an outcome is still unclear to many in the public library community. Indeed, the term input can be added to this confusion. So, some might find it helpful to substitute for the sound-alike terms input, output, and outcome “library resources,” “library services,” and “user changes.”

LJ Index 2014: All the Stars, State by State

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Click a state above, or use the drop-down below to jump to the Star libraries in that state. Star libraries are listed alphabetically by state abbreviation, then ranked by stars and score. Please note that expenditure category peer comparisons are the critical ones; for the Star Libraries by expenditure category please go to The Star Libraries page.