The Library Journal has published their LJ Index of Public Library Service, and again the Camden Public Library has earned a 5-Star rating. The LJ Index is a measurement tool that compares public libraries with their spending peers based on four per-capita output measures: circulation, library visits, program attendance, and public Internet computer use. Scores on the LJ Index are produced by measuring the relationships between each library’s statistics and the averages for its expenditure category. Five stars is the highest possible rating.
This year, there are 261 Star Libraries, 54 of which were not Star Libraries last year. From the Library Journal website:
1. What is the LJ Index of Public Library Service?
The LJ Index is a national rating system designed to recognize and promote America’s public libraries, to help improve the pool of nationally collected library statistics, and to encourage library self-evaluation.
2. How was the LJ Index designed?
Simplicity, transparency, and comprehensibility were the main objectives in designing the rating system. We used statistical correlation analysis to identify a concise and straight-forward set of indicators of library service provision. We also wanted to enable individual libraries to examine first-hand the data upon which their ratings are based.One of the foundational ideas of this system is the acknowledgment of the strengths and weaknesses of library ratings systems of any kind. Ratings are best understood within the larger context of library assessment and evaluation. Comprehensive local evaluation of library operations by libraries and their constituents is the most productive method for assessing library performance.
3. What data are LJ Index scores based on?
LJ Index scores and Star ratings are based on data reported annually by public libraries to their state library agencies and compiled nationally by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Each edition of the LJ Index specifies the statistical year the ratings pertain to—in the article text and also in a separate table. The November 2016 ratings are based on IMLS public libraries data for 2014; the November 2015 ratings, on the 2013 IMLS data; the November 2014 ratings, on the 2012 data. And so on.Any issues with data accuracy or completeness should be directed to local libraries and/or their state library agencies.
4. What statistical measures does the LJ Index use?
Originally, LJ Index scores were based on four per capita service output statistics:
public Internet computer use