For the fifth year in a row, the Westerville Public Library was named a five-star library in the November issue of the Library Journal.

For the fifth year in a row, the Westerville Public Library was named a five-star library in the November issue of the Library Journal.

The award is based on a number of factors, including cost efficiency, use of computer and collection-to-residents ratio.

And for Director Don Barlow, the award comes as affirmation of a job well done from a respected portion of the library community.

"It's always nice to get recognition, particularly from your peers," he said. "This is through Library Journal, which is sort of like the American Library Association.

"So it's out of around 7,900 libraries, and only 82 were five-star libraries. Obviously, we're very proud of that, and it speaks as much about our community as it does about library itself."

The award goes to libraries in categories determined by budget, and Barlow said Westerville finished second in the $5 million to $9.9 million bracket, which puts it on par with the likes of the main Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Worthington Libraries.

Barlow said the Westerville community is a unique one, and he believes the library has earned residents' trust through its relationship with its patrons.

"I think a large part of it is simply our customer service," he said. "Our citizens, when they come in and get great customer service, keep coming back.

"We have a great collection that meets their needs, and it's a huge reason it's so well-used. (Westerville) is a great community, and when people come in and spend a day or half a day in the library, it says a lot."

But in 2014, in holding the attention of customers, technology is just as important as the selection of books, Barlow said.

"Libraries need to be as convenient as Google," he said. "People don't use Google because of its authoritative information. They use it because it's convenient to use."

And with that added emphasis comes a greater need to stay current with ever-changing technology, he said.

"We also have to provide the technology that customers are used to," he said.

"With our web applications and iPhone applications, that's the biggest challenge for libraries now. There's more and more need to be mobile. You have to be available at home and on mobile devices."