Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville library again wins 5-star national ranking


The Westerville Public Library once again has received a top rating in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service.

The library was named a five-star library, a designation given to only 82 of more than 9,000 public libraries ranked by the journal, said Westerville Public Library Marketing Coordinator Linda Wilkins.

The ranking, which is based on two-year-old data, takes into account the number of library visits, items borrowed, program attendance, computer usage and costs per capita.

The library also earned the top designation in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Wilkins said.

"It's nice to get national recognition. We're heavily supported by the community, but it's also nice to get the recognition from outside the community," said library Executive Director Don Barlow.

Barlow said he attributes the library's high honors to a commitment from the library to provide the products and services residents want while meeting national benchmarks and being fiscally responsible.

"We do a very good job of basically providing what our customers want, and we're able to do that with great customer service, and I think that's appreciated by the people in Westerville, as well," Barlow said. "We certainly look at national standards. A lot of the keys are based on use, but a lot of them are cost efficiency as well."

Barlow said the ranking is a tribute to both the community and the library staff.

"It speaks highly of our community. I think they can take pride in (knowing) the cash they give to support the library is well used and provides a return on their investment," he said. "We're very grateful to the board and the library staff for their dedication to the library; certainly, that's what helps us maintain one of the country's finest libraries."

Overall in the Library Journal rankings, Ohio libraries compare well nationally.

Thirty-two Ohio libraries were recognized in the rankings. The only state with more ranked libraries was New York, which had 37, and the state with the third most, Illinois, had 20 ranked libraries.

Ten Ohio libraries received five stars.

Locally, ranked libraries included the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Grandview Heights Public Library and the Worthington Public Library, each of which was given five stars; and the Upper Arlington Public Library, which was given four stars.