Sunday, November 9, 2014

WCCLS & Library Journal Index 2014

Each year, Library Journal publishes an index of 'Star Libraries' within the United States.

Their rating system is developed from the annual data most public libraries in the United States, with the help of state library agencies, submit to the federal Institute for Museums & Library Services (IMLS).

Washington County Cooperative Library Services was recently lauded as a star library, earning 4 out of 5 stars! However, as a rather unique library cooperative, the data we are asked to submit to the Oregon State Library each year paints a slightly different picture when viewed within the context of single municipal libraries and centrally managed, regional library systems.

The data WCCLS reports includes only the county-level data: central support services costs and statistics, plus statistics from Washington County's West Slope Community Library and our Homebound Services program. As a result, the $5+ million annual WCCLS budget gets divided by West Slope’s relatively small service population. All of the data for WCCLS member libraries (with the exception of West Slope) are reported individually by each member library. So, to get the complete picture of Washington County, you need to add them all together.

Totals for WCCLS member libraries as a whole (fiscal year 2011-2012):
Service population:  536,370
Circulation per capita:  24.27
Library visits per capita:  7.91
Program attendance per capita:  0.43
Public internet use per capita:  1.16
Expenditure per capita: $64.38
Total expenditures: $34,530,588
If the 12 WCCLS member libraries' data were viewed together as a single library system, we would still rank very well among other public library systems of similar size featured in the 2014 Library Journal index ($30+ million/year annual expenditures). In fact, WCCLS had better program attendance rates than Salt Lake County (UT), King County (WA), & Hennepin County (MN) Libraries; more library visits per capita than Multnomah County, Denver (CO), & St. Louis County (MO) Public Libraries; and higher circulation per captia than all other 2014 Star Libraries in this expenditure category, with the exception of Multnomah County Library.

Last but not least, we'd like to congratulate our colleagues at our cooperative's Garden Home Community Library, who received a 3-star rating within their own peer group ($200k - $399.9k/per year annual expenditures)! Nice work, Garden Home!

Congratulations also to our fellow Oregon Star Libraries: Lakeside Public Library (Coos County Library Service District), Port Orford Public Library, Eugene Public Library, and Multnomah County Library.