MARION—The Marion City Library has been working for nearly a decade to become a Library Journal Five-Star Library. In 2020, Director Janet Marler met her goal: Marion City Library earned its first five-star rating.
“We have received a star library rank for the last eight years. We started with three, then four and we finally got five,” Marler said.
The Library Journal has been one of the primary trade publications for libraries for the last 140 years. Of the the over 5,600 libraries indexed in the Library Journal this year, only 262 earned the title of Star Libraries. Marion City Library was one of just 60 nationwide to increase their number of stars.
The Library Journal breaks libraries into spending and population categories, so rural libraries are not in direct competition with their larger, urban counterparts.
Marion ranked fourth overall in the five-star $50,000 to $99,999 expenditure range. Only three other libraries nationwide made the leap from four to five stars in Marion’s classification.
“That has been a goal. We were quite happy when we reached it. You never know what your numbers will show,” Marler said.
Even in the time of COVID-19, Marler said she and her staff held a small reception, complete with star cookies, to mark the accomplishment.
Marler explained the Library Journal analyzes a wide variety of data sets.
“Every library in the country turns in a report with how many books were checked out, how many visits, the number of programs and how many people attended, wi-fi usage, e-books—we have to account for all of that and send it to the state,” she said.
Marler said Marion Public Library has added programming over the years, and those programs have been well-received by the board of directors as well as the community.