Champaign Public Library Makes National “Top 100” List

The Champaign Public Library is among the top 100 public libraries in the nation, and among the top 10 public libraries in its population category, according to the newest Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings (HAPLR), released yesterday.

The HAPLR system uses data from 7,930 public libraries across the U.S. to compile ratings to help libraries evaluate and improve their services. Libraries are divided into 10 population categories, and special recognition is given to the top 10 in each group. The new ratings are based on 2007 data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the most recent figures available.

Champaign’s population category of 50,000 to 100,000 included 556 libraries. Champaign scored 896 out of a possible 1,000 — an increase over last year’s score of 875 — earning it the number seven rank in its category.

The HAPLR system looks at 15 factors, including both outputs and inputs. Library usage is measured in terms of questions answered per capita (reference); library visits per capita; items checked out per capita (circulation); and items checked out per visit. Several inputs relate to funding, including total per capita expenditure; per capita expenditure for books and other library materials; and percent of budget devoted to materials.

Collection quality is measured not only by books owned per capita but also by turnover, a way to determine how well a collection matches customer interests by looking at the number of times each item is checked out annually. Additional factors look at efficiency, including cost per checkout and checkouts per staff hour.

Recognizing the range of measures that gave the library its rating, Library Director Marsha Grove noted, “It takes everyone to make a truly great library — a Library Board with vision, strong support from City Council and Administration, a talented staff, dedicated Friends and Foundation, and a community that sees their library as an important asset and a good value.”

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