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IMCPL Continues Its 4-Star National Reputation

November 19, 2009

Its response to the growing demand for library services has earned the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library a rating among the nation's top urban public libraries, according to the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, sponsored by Baker & Taylor's Bibliostat Connect web-based statistical analysis software.

IMCPL's 4-star designation places it in the top 10 of the largest library systems with expenditures of at least $30 million, based upon 2007 data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services related to patron visits, circulation, program attendance and public Internet computer use. IMCPL also received a 4-star rating in the initial Library Journal index earlier this year that was based on 2006 usage statistics.

Two of the Library's typical standard measurements of performance, patrons visits and the number of materials circulated, have shown record increases over the past several years. This trend is continuing in 2009, as over 5.1 million patron visits have been recorded through October, compared to over 4.8 million in 2008. Over 14.5 million items have been circulated, compared to over 13.3 million through October 2008.

Another measure is indicative of the crucial role of libraries during challenging economic times. Thus far in 2009, over 1 million patron hours have been logged on IMCPL's public computers, as more individuals take advantage of free computer access for job searches, resume preparation, unemployment filing and other personal business. This compares to over 853,000 hours logged during the same period in 2008. In addition, IMCPL has presented 483 free computer training classes in 2009 to assist those with little or no computer skills, compared to 226 through October of 2008 These classes have been attended by 3,857 individuals, compared in 1,395 for the same period in 2008.

"We're proud to receive national recognition as we work to meet the varied needs of today's library patrons," stated Laura Bramble, IMCPL Chief Executive Officer. "Our success is based on our ability to provide not only print materials, but online resources and staff assistance with modern computer technology," she added.

Attendance at programs for all ages, including story programs, book discussions and adult lifelong learning activities, is another important index indicator. In all of 2008, IMCPL presented over 12,000 free programs attended by over 333,000 individuals. So far in 2009, over 10,000 programs have been attended by more than 207,000 individuals.

IMCPL's 4-star rating was equaled by public library districts in San Jose, CA; Cleveland, OH; Toledo, OH; and Independence, MO. Five districts achieved 5-star status: Cuyahoga County, OH; Columbus, OH; San Diego, CA; Charlotte, NC; and Portland, OR. 3-star libraries included those in Broward County, FL; Jacksonville, FL; Baltimore County, MD; Montgomery, AL; and Queens, NY.

The index by Library Journal, the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field, focuses on actual performance measures rather than such inputs as expenditures, collection size and staffing.

More information on the index can be found at www.libraryjournal.com.