The eighth edition of the LJ Index of Public Library Service and its Star Library ratings is the November 2015 cover story of Library Journal. While co-author Ray Lyons and I had hoped to add circulation of electronic materials (i.e., downloadable e-books, audio and video) to the index this year, that innovation will have to wait until the 2016 edition. In successive years, we expect e-circulation to be followed by Wifi access usage and library website visits.
In the meantime, this year’s edition scores and rates the nation’s public libraries based on per-capita statistics for circulation, library visits, program attendance, and public Internet computer use. Scores are based on how a library’s per-capita figures compare with the averages for its spending peers. There are nine spending peer groups.
This year’s article also reviews the status of early reporting on e-circulation and suggests do-it-yourself projects that can be done for public libraries that do not achieve Star Library status nationwide, such as using LJ Index scores to rank one’s library (always, within its spending peer group) within its own state, among libraries of the same legal basis type (e.g., city, county, district), etc.