For the third year in a row, the Westerville Public Library has earned a top ranking from Library Journal, placing it among the top 1 percent of institutions in the nation.

For the third year in a row, the Westerville Public Library has earned a top ranking from Library Journal, placing it among the top 1 percent of institutions in the nation.

"We're very happy," library Executive Director Don Barlow said. "It's always nice to get recognition from an outside source."

The Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, in its eighth year, ranks libraries based on four per-capita measures: circulation, library visits, program attendance and public Internet computer use.

Of 7,663 institutions nationwide that were ranked by the magazine, 261 were designated 2015 Star Libraries. Of those, only 85 were deemed five-star establishments, putting Westerville in the top 1 percent of all entrants.

For Barlow and his staff, the award comes as another indication that the library is succeeding.

"It really reaffirms what we're doing," he said. "All libraries try to do the very best they can with the resources they have. But I think it speaks volumes about our community and how much they use the library. And, of course, some of that is on us with providing the customer with what they want."

Barlow said the library's commitment to keeping up with technology and pooling resources in programs such as SearchOhio and OhioLINK keep it on track.

"I think we're a little ahead of the curve because we share resources through SearchOhio," he said. "There are 28 other public libraries in the program, so we can share resources. Even if the library doesn't have it, we can get it from another and get it here in a day or so."

As e-books and other forms of electronic media continue to surpass physical materials, Barlow said all libraries are challenged with how to adapt.

In response, Westerville has begun to work with other libraries around the state to share such resources, and has more than doubled its available e-books.

"Like a lot of libraries, we're certainly investing heavier into electronic books and databases and those types of things," Barlow said. "We're keeping pace with demands from the public."

The library also is working on improving the customer experience. Staffers expect implementation of a new radio-frequency identification checkout system to be finished early next year, allowing patrons and librarians to check books in and out significantly faster.

After receiving the fifth five-star designation in six years, Barlow said he doesn't expect the library to stop improving.

"The biggest thing we do is listen to our customers," he said. "We focus on that and the partnerships we have with other libraries and Westerville City Schools."

Twenty-eight Ohio libraries made this year's Library Journal list. Locally ranked institutions include Columbus Metropolitan Library, which received four stars, and Grandview Heights Public Library, Upper Arlington Public Library, Wagnalls Memorial Library and Worthington Public Library, all of which earned five stars.