Hennen's American Public Library Ratings
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Three area libraries win top rankings

Thursday, November 02, 2000




Nancy Fisher has always thought the library she runs does a top job of serving a diverse and information-hungry crowd. Now Wickliffe Public Library has the national ranking to prove it.

Wickliffe library joined Twinsburg and Cleveland Heights-University Heights libraries in finishing among the Top 10 for libraries of their size in the country, according to rankings publicized yesterday in American Libraries magazine.

Ohio libraries also rank higher than any other stateís, according to rankings devised by Thomas Hennen. He is a Wisconsin librarian who annually crunches statistics on circulation, staffing, reference service and funding from 9,000 libraries, creating Hennenís American Public Library Ratings.

Wickliffe finished third among 1,399 libraries serving populations between 10,000 and 25,000. The library is located between elementary and middle schools and counts students among its steady flow of devoted patrons.

"Everyone thought we should have been ranked up there all along," said Fisher, the libraryís director.

Twinsburg finished ninth in the same population category, the third straight year of lofty rankings for a library serving one of the fastest-growing areas in Ohio. A big reason for its popularity: The library sets aside 25 percent of its $1.7 million budget to buy new materials, Director Karen Tschudy said.

Cleveland Heights-University Heights, which circulates 1.5 million items yearly, ranked seventh among 447 libraries serving between 50,000 and 100,000 people.

Director Stephen Wood said the ranking shows his staff "that their work in selecting materials and finding information is really appreciated."

Ohio libraries excel thanks to generous funding, Hennen said. While most libraries nationwide depend on local support through property taxes, Ohio sets aside a chunk of the state income tax for its libraries. The money typically covers a half or more of Ohio librariesí budgets, Hennen said.

Overall, Ohioans are a comparatively bookish lot. They visit their libraries more often and check out more items per visit than most U.S. residents, Hennen reported.

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