Last June, in an article by Keith Curry Lance & Ray Lyons (www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6566452.html?q=the+new+lj+index),
Library Journal put its name behind the authors' proposal to create a new
rating system for public libraries. The result is, "The LJ Index of Public
Library Service 2009," which appears in the February 15, 2009 issue of
Library Journal (www.libraryjournal.com/ljindex2009).
This index, sponsored by Baker & Taylor's Bibliostat, is based on 2006
data that public libraries submitted to their state library agencies. The
index focuses on four service outputs, measured on a per capita basis: library
visits, circulation, program attendance, and public Internet computer use.
Top-rated libraries are classified by the number of stars they earned, similar
to a travel guide. They are also grouped by operating expenditure range,
from the $10,000 to $49,999 level to the $30 million and over range. Of
the 256 star-rated libraries in this output-based index, ten are in
Nebraska. Six Nebraska libraries are rated at the five-star level
(Central City, Atkinson, Hartington, Neligh, Ravenna, and Syracuse Public Libraries), 2 are
in the four-star ranking (Wymore and Crawford Public Libraries), and 2 are
listed as three-star libraries (Geneva and Lied Pierce Public Libraries).
While no single assessment is sufficient to measure the quality and value of
your library, the LJ Index is certainly another tool that can be used
to determine how well your library is meeting the needs of the community.
And, in a shameless pitch to encourage libraries to submit their Public Library
Statistical Survey, remember that if you don't report your data, you will be
excluding your library from appearing in this index.
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