For the fifth consecutive time our Library has been ranked among the ten best public libraries among those serving a population of more than 500,000.
The Hennen American Public Library Ratings (HAPLR) are compiled by Thomas J. Hennen, Jr., Director of the Waukesha County Federated Library System in Wisconsin. Our ranking for 2010 is tied for 7th in our size category. Hennen lists 10 libraries in each of 10 population categories and our Library is one of 84 libraries nationally serving a population of over 500,000. These 100 public libraries are widely considered to be the best libraries in the country. Hennen’s ratings are based on the latest federal data reported by 7,930 public libraries across the country. Libraries are rated, scored and ranked on fifteen input and output measures that focus on circulation, staffing, materials, reference service, and funding levels. Statistics alone cannot define library excellence, of course, but Hennen believes that the ratings numbers are still important.
What Makes Libraries Relevant in the Digital Age?
- Demand at our Library has grown 23% since 2000. At our Library, area residents borrowed an all time high of nearly 16.4 million items in 2009
including a 9.1% increase in print use.
- The Library’s online services and electronic resources are increasingly important and utilized. Year-to-date circulation of digital materials (ebooks and downloadable audiobooks) is up 34%, database use is up 9% and in 2009 the Virtual Library received over 1.8 million hits—120% higher than 2008.
- Internet access is now one of the most sought after public library services and was used by 45% of the 169 million public library visitors over the past year. Our Library’s 650+ public computers are in use all day every day.
- Librarians have research skills that are vital in the information age. At our Library, approximately 2 million reference questions are asked every year by email, text message, phone, and in person.
- Comprehensive job and career support includes instructional workshops to help jobseekers sharpen their skills. The Library also provides access to technology to enable them to apply for jobs online, create a resume, research potential employers, and set up an email account.
- Kindergarten readiness programs such as Shared Reading, Early Learning Express, and more than 350 free story times presented every month help prepare area children to succeed in school.
- Homework centers with live tutors, online homework help, thousands of teacher collections for classroom use, more than 14,500 free programs each year, Kidspace and Teenspace websites, and comprehensive print and non-print resources give children the additional tools they need to continue succeeding academically.
- To help entrepreneurs and small business owners reach their professional goals, the Library offers a wealth of resources and services ranging from 24/7 access to expensive databases to in-depth workshops and training programs, as well as free wi-fi, and a comprehensive trademark and patent collection.