The Naperville Public Library again is among the top such facilities in the country, based on national ratings released this month.
The library system received a five-star rating from the Index of Public Library Service published in "Library Journal," which evaluates circulation statistics, number of visits, program attendance and public computer use per capita.
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Naperville Public Library Executive Director Julie Rothenfluh said the five-star rating, which the library has received for six straight years, shows the library is succeeding in providing informational, educational and entertainment items and services.
"We're always very happy to receive that five-star status," Rothenfluh said. "What really drives that is usage. If we have such a high usage, clearly we're providing our users with what they want."
The ratings released this month evaluated 7,500 U.S. libraries that serve at least 1,000 people with an annual budget of at least $10,000. Ratings were based on 2011 data submitted to state agencies and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Naperville's 2011 statistics showed 1,677,314 library visits and 4,677,246 circulated items. Attendance at programs totaled 83,098 and library visitors used 2,285,768 Internet sessions.
Library Trustee Jeff Davis said actions such as purchasing tablets to be checked out as e-readers prove the library is "more than a warehouse of books."
"Members of the public are more demanding than ever and I think we're meeting those needs," Davis said.
While library leadership has changed twice in the past three years, Naperville City Council member Robert Fieseler, who is the liaison to the library board, said the system has continued providing service worthy of the five-star rating.
"It's a testimony to the excellence of the staff and the depth of the talent at the library that they're able to maintain that (rating) despite significant changes," Fieseler said.
Naperville is among six libraries in Illinois and 86 in the nation to receive the five-star rating. The Arlington Heights Public Library, the Ela Area Public Library District in Lake Zurich, and public libraries in Northbrook, Oak Park and Schaumburg also received the distinction.
Before Naperville's string of six years receiving the highest rating from "Library Journal," the system had an 11-year run as a top-rated library in the HAPLR Index, which Wisconsin librarian Thomas J. Hennen compiled using similar federal library data.