BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It could be like jumping from a top 30 ranking in college football to the top 10 in one year. That's the jump the EBR Parish Library System took in a national industry ranking.
For the fourth consecutive year, our library has earned stars in the Library Journal's America's Star Libraries Award sweepstakes. But this year, the library jumped from its three-star ranking in past years, to five stars this year! It did it in just one year's time!
Library board members are ecstatic.
"Once again, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library has been recognized nationally as one of the best and brightest of the public libraries in the United States," said Kizzy Payton, President of the EBR Board of Control.
I wondered if it might be because of the beautiful new building on Goodwood Boulevard, so I checked the website for the awards. Categories have nothing to do with infrastructure like a building.
Instead, the 5-star ranking earned by EBR was for the very pulse of the library. For instance, judges considered the circulation per capita which refers to the number of things checked out either from the shelves or online. They considered the number of visitors to the gleaming new rooms. Any time of day, you can find people sitting in the comfy chairs by the large windows looking out onto the park.
Our library is a gathering place. One thing the judges considered is how well people attend the library's special events and programs…like visiting writer lectures, geneology pow wows, even the ladies who gather to knit pads for the homeless out of grocery bags!
And fourth, how many people use the library's Internet? The answer is major because of the number of families in Baton Rouge who do not have Internet at home, and bring their children in to use computers for their school lessons, among other users.
Library director Spencer Watts says, "This is a tribute to the hard work and innovative spirit of our staff, the strategic planning and leadership of the Library Board of Control, the continuing collaboration and assistance of the Mayor's Office and the Metro Council and the enthusiastic support of our community."
So it takes a village to make a library great….and in this case, we all enjoy the stellar five star ranking of the EBR Library System.
Two other libraries in Louisiana are listed in this year's rankings: Krotz Springs Public Library and the Jackson Parish Library in Jonesboro both ranked 3-star. Congrats to them.