The Library Journal recently identified star libraries throughout the United States and the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library was included on that list and received five stars.
The rating of public libraries is based on an index by Ray Lyons and Keith Curry Lance and sponsored by Baker & Taylor's Bibliostat, and it rated 7,115 public libraries according to four output measures that indicate public service-circulation per capita, visits per capita, program attendance per capita, and public Internet uses per capita-based on 2006 data collected by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and published in late 2008. The top libraries in each category, organized by ranges of operating expenditures, were then assigned five, four, or three Michelin guide-esque stars. A total of 256 libraries received star ratings.
A state-by-state glance shows the New York libraries walked away with the most stars with 34.
Lyons and Lance reflected on some of the factors impacting service levels, including location and demographics, organization and funding, and leadership and management.
"Since the LJ Index rates libraries on four representative service outputs, it measures what may be thought of as 'prerequisites' for library quality and value," they said. "A library that excels on the Index is very likely to be headed in the direction of high service quality and excellence."
The population of the Plainview and Old Bethpage area is approximately 28,000 and, according to the library's statistics, there are nearly 20,000 registered card holders. The POB Library consistently leads the country with the number of materials circulated and rose to the No. 1 spot in 2008. The library is also a well-known community center and offered 193 adult programs and 356 children's events in 2008, which brought in 42,000 people. In addition to library-sponsored events, over 1,000 community meetings were held at the library last year.
Gretchen Browne, director of the Plainview Old Bethpage Library, said she is thrilled. "The staff has worked really hard to get into this category," she said. "It is not something that happened overnight. It took hard work and dedication to the community for the staff, the board and former directors. We have always been a library that tried to respond to needs of the community and does a good job. We try and be friendly, available and give the community what they want and this rating proves that we have succeeded in all of those areas."