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For the third straight year, the Allerton Public Library in Monticello has received a perfect five-star rating from the periodical Library Journal, earning it ‘star library’ status in the magazine’s most recent rankings.
Categories used (on a per capita basis) to compile the list were library visits, circulation, program attendance and public internet computer usage. This year’s list was based on 2010 data that was submitted by 7,570 public libraries across the country, of which only 262 earned the three, four or five stars needed to be on the list.
The Champaign Public Library earned a four-star rating, making it the other ‘star library’ in this area.
Allerton Public Librarian Lisa Winters said when the economy turned down, library usage climbed.
“The library continues to be a busy place, most likely due to the current economy.” she said. “Children’s programs continue to be very well attended and the free Wi-Fi usage has increased significantly – so significantly that at peak times we’re unable to accommodate all users.”
Champaign Public Library Director Marsha Grove said it also shows that libraries like Champaign and Allerton are “doing things well, efficiently, and effectively, because it’s not only looking at how much you do, it’s looking at things per capita.”
Winters was also surprised at the ‘Star’ designation.
“Of course we were surprised, and delighted,” said Winters. "I think with ongoing and broad cuts for libraries nationwide, it is important to recognize the accomplishments of libraries.”
Patrick Wade of the News-Gazette contributed to this story.