CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign Public Library has been named one of America's "star" libraries by a national library publication, putting it in the top tier of libraries of its size.
The Champaign library was one of 256 libraries nationally, out of 7,155 total, to earn a three-, four- or five-star rating from Library Journal magazine, which is considered one of the top two library publications in the country.
The Champaign Public Library earned a three-star rating and was ranked 22 out of 160 libraries nationally in its budget category of between $5 million and $9.9 million annually. The top 32 libraries in the $5 million to $9.9 million category received a star rating, with five stars being the highest rating and four stars second highest.
"I think it's significant," said Elizabeth Otto, promotional services manager for the Champaign Public Library. "They put together this rating system very thoughtfully. They know libraries in and out.
"It says a lot about how our library is serving the public and how much our community supports the library by using it every day," she said.
The rating system looked at four areas that reflect library service: circulation per capita, visits per capita, number of people attending library programs per capita and public Internet use per capita.
The ratings were announced in February and were based upon the most recent use information available, from 2006.
Library Director Marsha Grove said she believes the Champaign Public Library will probably climb in the rankings in coming years, as library use has jumped since the new library building opened in January 2008.
"Since 2006, we've seen tremendous growth in the areas the rating is based on, with the number of checkouts up more than 36 percent so far this fiscal year," Grove said. "It will be interesting to see how we look in two years, when current usage is taken into account."
Champaign ranked first in the three-star group, just missing a four-star rating. It circulated an average of 24.5 items per resident and had an average of 9.4 library visits, 0.6 program visits and 1.1 uses of the Internet by city residents, for a total score of 912.
The Urbana Free Library, the Danville Public Library and the Bloomington and Normal libraries did not earn star ratings, though Urbana's overall score of 934 was slightly higher than Champaign's. All these libraries were in the $1 million to $4.9 million budget category.
Urbana ranked 108th in its budget category; Bloomington, 224th; Normal, 321st; and Danville, 460th. There were 1,126 libraries in the $1 million to $4.9 million category.
Urbana circulated 19.5 items per resident and had 11.1 visits, 0.8 program visits and two uses of the Internet per city resident.