Again Among Nation’s Best
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
For the third straight year, the Brumback Library has been recognized as one of the best in the country.
Brumback Library was named as one of America's Star Libraries by Library Journal, one of 32 Ohio libraries to receive a star designation.
In comparison to libraries with similar budget and funding levels in its respective category, the Brumback Library was ranked eighth in the nation and first in Ohio. For this honor, the Brumback Library was given a four-star rating. Last year, the library also received a four-star rating and in 2011 was given a three-star honor.
"These rankings clearly demonstrate that the resources, service, and programming efforts the Brumback Library provides are well-utilized by Van Wert County residents of all ages," remarked Brumback Library Director John Carr.
The Brumback Library is one of two libraries in the state to receive a four-star rating, the other being the Loudonville Public Library. Three-star recognition went to New Carlisle Public Library, Orrville Public Library, and Habor-Topky Memorial Library.
The 2013 rankings, which are based on 2011 statistics, give star status to 263 public libraries, with 32 in Ohio. Libraries are rated by Library Journal on their performance within categories determined by operating expenditures. Performance is then measured and points awarded in circulation, library visits, program attendance, and public use of the Internet. The number of stars received is based on the total points earned.
More than 26,000 county residents are registered library card holders. In 2011, the library expanded services to include access to e-books, downloadable videos, audios, and music through the Ohio Ebook Project, bringing in more patrons.
In 2012, library patrons checked out more than 739,000 items. Between the main library and the five branch facilities, the Brumback Library's collection is more then 228,000 items.
"The library offers a service schedule of 179.5 hours per week," said Joan Stripe, president of the Brumback Library Board of Trustees. "While there are public libraries that have much larger incomes than we have, and others that are smaller and able to save large sums of money due to fewer demands for their services, the Brumback Library has an admirable record indeed. We have and continue to be good frugal stewards of the funds entrusted to us."
Over the past 11 years, the Brumback Library, like the state's other 250 public libraries, has experienced many funding freezes and major funding cuts. As a result staff reductions, a slight decrease in hours of operation, cuts in salaries, and limited reductions in purchasing some materials have occurred.
"While many libraries have cut hours and services greatly, the Brumback Library sought to minimize such cuts by reducing staff size and the like. In fact, the library presently serves larger numbers of people, many from area communities whose libraries' hours of operation and purchases of print and non-print items were severely cut," Stripe added.
The 0.5 mill levy which was approved by county voters in 2005 and renewed in 2010 has helped greatly. Although it has not fully compensated for all the state funding cuts, it has helped the Brumback Library keep its services and resources at the level county residents have come to expect.
"We are truly grateful for the support of Van Wert County's residents in passing the aforementioned levies," Carr noted. "Such funds are indeed vital and are truly appreciated. The doors of Main Library and the library's branches in Convoy, Middle Point, Ohio City, Willshire, and Wren are open to one and all. The Brumback Library remains a center of lifelong learning for Van Wert County residents of all ages."