The State Library of Ohio congratulates the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) for the honor of being selected as the 2010 Library Journal/Gale Library of the Year. CML received the prestigious recognition because of its leadership and dedication to serving all in their community with innovative and successful programming and services. CML’s commitment to efficient and effective service encompasses steadfast planning based on market research on the needs of their community, adaptability to changes in culture and technology, and establishing priorities based on customer behavior. “The success of the Columbus Metropolitan Library is built upon its unwavering commitment to planning and delivering services that are responsive to community needs. That focus on community needs is what drives them,” said State Librarian of Ohio Beverly Cain.
The recognition is cause for celebration for both CML and the library communities of Ohio. The Library Journal/Gale Library of the Year awards began in 1992 with a goal to celebrate achievement and recognize libraries with outstanding service, creativity and innovation in coping with the changing needs of their public, and leadership in the field. Three Ohio libraries have received the Library of the Year honor: Medina County District Library, 1998; Worthington Libraries, 2007; and Columbus Metropolitan Library, 2010. In addition, Ohio libraries have received Special Mention eight times: Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, 2000, 2001; Worthington Libraries, 2002, 2003, 2006; Cleveland Public Library 2005, 2006; and Columbus Metropolitan Library, 2009.
Libraries in Ohio have consistently received national recognition with top rankings and awards. “Ohio’s public libraries, large and small, have set the bar for measuring excellence in library programs and services. It is very rewarding to see the outstanding work of Ohio’s libraries consistently being recognized on a national level,” said Cain. CML received a five star rating and thirty-two other Ohio libraries were identified as Star Libraries in the 2009 Library Journal Index of Public Library Service Round 2.
Five libraries were ranked number one, and an additional twenty, including CML, were ranked in the top five in their respective population categories in the 2010 HAPLR report. Libraries with the number one ranking in their population categories included: Cuyahoga County Public Library (500,000), Washington-Centerville Public Library (50,000), Westlake Porter Public Library (25,000), Twinsburg Public Library (10,000), and Columbiana Public Library. Twenty-five percent of all top-rated libraries over the past ten years have been in Ohio. Columbus Metropolitan Library and Twinsburg Public Library have made it into the top ten of all ten editions of the HAPLR. In overall scores, Ohio has been ranked number one in the country in every report. The 2010 HAPLR rankings are based on reports from libraries filed in 2008 with data from 2007 and prior to major budget cuts seen in the past two years.
Although changes in funding in Ohio are having an impact on the breadth and scope of programs and services, the foundation for success of Ohio libraries is built on more than money. CML Executive Director Pat Losinski expressed it this way in the June 15, 2010 issue of Library Journal, “We always talked about state funding as the reason for Ohio library success. What really made Ohio libraries so successful was also independent governance. The 251 libraries in Ohio that are not part of city government have much more self-determination. State funding made us think of them as a state resource rather than as a local community resource. That creates a whole different dynamic.”