Hennen's American Public Library Ratings
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Naperville has top library in nation again

From the Chicago Sun-Times

October 25, 2000


Naperville's public library system scored a literary three-peat, notching its third straight rating as the best library in the country for its size.

The Naperville Public Libraries finished ahead of 311 other libraries from around the country that serve similar-sized cities and townships, according to annual statistical ratings released this week.

That wasn't a surprise to some patrons, who say they didn't need the rankings to tell them the library sits on the top shelf.

"They offer a lot of different ways to access the information; you can go online, or use CDs or videos," said June Boyd, a seven-year Naperville resident. "Compared to the libraries I've used, it's one of the best."

The rankings, developed by Wisconsin librarian Thomas Hennen, analyze 15 factors to determine how well libraries provide books and services to their patrons.

The two branches in Naperville racked up 887 points out of a possible 1,000, putting them ahead of all other libraries that serve 100,000 to 250,000 people.

"Numbers alone do not identify truly great libraries," said Hennen, administrator of the Waukesha County Federated Library System and developer of the ratings. "On the other hand, I do not believe that a library can be truly great with poor numbers."

Hennen's American Public Library Ratings measure a variety of statistics, including how much a library spends per capita, how many patrons use the library and even how many books are checked out.

Other Chicago area libraries that ranked among the best in the nation include the Schaumburg Township District Library, which finished sixth in the category headed by Naperville.

The Palatine Public Library finished fourth among libraries serving a population of 50,000 to 100,000, while the Elmhurst Public Library finished fourth in the 25,000 to 50,000 category, with the Cook Memorial Library District in Lake County finishing seventh and the Downers Grove Public Library finishing 10th.

Hennen surveyed more than 7,000 libraries of all sizes.



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