The Marion City Library was recently recognized as a five-star library for 2018. The library had received three and four-star ratings in the past, but this was the first time they were given the five-star rating. In addition, the library is the only one to get the five-star rating in Kansas in the $50,0000 to $99,000 budget category.
Janet Marler, the director of the library, has been there for several years. She has seen the library move from it’s small, former location to the current, larger location.
“The rating is based on per capita. So they take your population and they take the library visits you had, how many people used the internet, how many programs you had, how many people attended your programs, how many e-books were checked out and so on. This helps them figure it all out,” said Marler.
The library offers a large number of programs which contributed to their success. Sometimes the program ideas come from the staff suggestions or patron suggestions. Every year the library has a garden luncheon, quilt show and Christmas Home Tour. They also hold book readings. Last year they also held a declutter class as well as an instapot class.
“We had to turn people away for the classes. But we are always working on improving and accommodating everyone better,” said Marler.
Another special program that the library does is offer a reading program for preschoolers to reward them for reading 1,000 books before kindergarten. Any child age zero to five gets a little chart with trains on it. Anytime they read a book, they get a sticker on their train car. For every 100 books, they get a train car on their chart and a little prize. And after 1,000 they get a caboose and a book of their choice.
“Kids really enjoy it and they love putting their little trains on and getting their picture taken.” said Marler.
Marler gives the majority of the credit for the rating to the patrons.
“We may do the programming and we may be here and have the books, but if people don’t come in then the rating doesn’t do us any good,” said Marler.”It all comes down to the patrons and them participating.”
She also credits the staff and board with supporting what they are doing as well as the community of Marion.
“And we’ve always had a lot of community support and it makes a world of difference.
Mayor Todd Heitschmidt presented the plaque from the Library Journal at a reception at the library on February 18 where he expressed his appreciation and pride for Marler and her staff.
Marler has worked hard to make the library a success. And she seems to enjoy every moment of the work.
“Children are my favorite. They are always so eager and so much fun. I love the adults, too and seeing new books. And I think coming up with new ideas that we can do and implement is growth and good,” said Marler.