By Lookout Staff
December 4, 2013 --The Santa Monica Public Library was the only Southern California library to earn the prestigious five-star rating this year from the Library Journal, City officials announced Tuesday.
It is the fourth year in a row that the City’s library has earned top marks in the prestigious journal’s national rating of public libraries based on the level of service they provide.
“The Santa Monica Public Library is a vibrant community center where people connect with new ideas by checking out library materials, getting online and taking part in events like author visits and storytimes,” said Wright Rix, the Acting City Librarian.
“Whether you are interested in learning, recreation or pursuing career goals, the library contains a wealth of resources,” Rix said.
According to the latest statistics posted on the library’s website, Santa Monica’s Main library and its Fairview, Montana and Ocean Park branches had some 1.4 visitors during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
Some 1.8 million items were checked out, including nearly one million books and more than 600,000 videos. Nearly 65,000 people attended programs, some 49,000 of them youths.
Library staff also answered 377,246 questions, according to the web site.
The 2013 ratings, announced last month by the Library Journal (LJ) Index of Public Library Service, are based on 2011 data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The Index ranked 7,573 public libraries “on the level of service they provide by evaluating per capita circulation, visits, program attendance and public Internet computer use,” according to library officials.
Only 263 public libraries earned three, four, or the highest, five-star rating, officials said. The Santa Monica Library was only one of 87 libraries nationwide to earn a five-star rating.
“The LJ Index offers an overall indication of how a library’s performance stacks up to peer libraries and provides guidance on how public libraries can better inform their stakeholders of achievements, service opportunities, and improve library awareness and funding,” library officials said in a statement.
New York led the nation in the number of libraries that earned three or more stars with 37, followed by Ohio with 32, Illinois with 20 and California with 13.
For more information, visit a Santa Monica Public Library branch or the Library’s web site www.smpl.org.