Central City Library gets five stars for fifth year « Back to Search Results

The Independent  |   By Amy Schweitzer

CENTRAL CITY — Merrick County residents gather at the Central City Public Library for Pinterest parties, book discussion groups, GED classes, children’s story time or to use the wireless Internet access.

So many people used the library that it was given a five-star rating for each of the past five years by the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. The rating is based on visits, program attendance, computer use and circulation per capita. Just 30 libraries from throughout the country have so consistently ranked so high thus earning the designation “5 Stars, 5 Editions.”

“It’s a huge sense of pride,” said Sara Lee, Central City library director. “It says we have tremendous support from the community.”

She said the library staff strives to give the best service they can and offer a diversity of programs to draw patrons of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

“It’s not just books,” Lee said of what they offer. She said there are a host of event that go on each week, drawing patrons. “We are always looking toward the future.”

She said the library uses several forms of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as well as a website to keep patrons informed of the newest DVDs at the library, which best sellers are in and what is happening.

For example, one of the increasingly popular events is the monthly “Pinterest Parties.”

Lee explained the library has a Pinterest account where they pin interesting crafting ideas or recipes. Then about once a month, a craft is chosen and the message is posted on Facebook as to what materials to gather and bring to the library to learn how to make it.

Tonight’s (Wednesday) Pinterest party includes a cookie swap using recipes found on Pinterest. On Jan. 7, patrons will get the chance to learn to make wire-wrapped jewelry and last month they made wreaths. Lee said because everyone brings their own supplies, the class cost is very low, usually around $1.

“It’s kind of a fun thing to do,” she said.

The list of things available for loan at the library proves Lee’s statement about not just being about books. Central City Public Library patrons can check out not only e-books, but also can borrow an e-reader if they don’t have their own.

The library also has more than 100 cake pans, which can be checked out for one week.

Lee said other reasons people may come in the library is to use the public computers, research genealogy, meet in a meeting room or even use the library’s Cricut Expression cutter. There also is a PlayStation 3, with pre-loaded games, for use in the children’s section

The Library Journal rankings are based on statistics submitted by 7,570 libraries around the country. Central City reported that its circulation was 27 per capita, its visits were at 25.5 per capita, program attendance was at 5.6 per capita and public Internet terminal uses per capita was at 6.7.

The Library Journal noted that it first started ranking libraries in 2008 to showcase public libraries whose levels of service distinguished them among their peers, to encourage libraries to pay attention to these statistics and raise awareness of the need for completeness and accuracy of annual library statistics reporting.

The Atkinson Public Library and Hartington Public Library were the only other two libraries in Nebraska that have received five years of five-star ratings.