For the 14th year in a row, Darien Library has been recognized by Library Journal as a Star Library in its annual review of U.S. public libraries.
The winning streak doesn’t get any longer than that — the magazine has only been naming libraries “Star Library” for 14 years.
A total of 262 libraries were named “Star Library” by the magazine this year. Libraries were scored based on statistics in various areas, and the comparisons were adjusted on a per capita basis to account for differences in the populations each library served.
The areas that were compared included circulation of library materials, electronic materials circulated, attendance at library programs, visits to the library, wifi sessions and numbers of computer users.
The magazine then drew up an overall score. Darien’s overall score was 2,441. Only 39 of this year’s 262 Star Libraries had higher scores. (A small number of the libraries had scores below 900, and a few scored above 4,000.) Darien was named a “Four Star” library by the magazine, the second-highest level, just under the “Five Star” category it achieved as recently as the 2019 rankings.
The per capita scoring for Darien showed that in 2019, with 12,753 residents in town, the average resident borrowed about 25 items from the library, visited about 16 times and attended programs two or three times.
“This year we are the only Star Library in the state of Connecticut,” the library said in an email sent to supporters on Tuesday. New York state has 34 Star Libraries, more than any other state. Massachusetts has 14; Rhode Island, none; New Jersey, 4.
In its Dec. 13 issue, the magazine said: The 2021 scores and ratings are based on FY19 data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Public Library Survey (PLS).
“Because of the unavoidable delay in data collection and analysis, that means this year’s Star Libraries once again represent not our current pandemic realities but a sort of pre-pandemic time capsule.”
In many of its news releases, the library describes itself this way: “Darien Library […] is among the busiest in the state with over 1,300 people visiting on an average day and has the highest per capita circulation of items in Connecticut.
“The Library collection includes 125,000 books and 300 newspaper and magazine subscriptions. In addition, the Library presents over 1,500 public events annually, hosting a lineup of bestselling authors, technology classes, early literacy programs, and workshops for small business owners and entrepreneurs.”
The former longtime editor-in-chief of the Library Journal, John Berry, retired in 2006 (the year before the Star Library awards began). He passed away in October 2020. He was the husband of Louise Berry, who retired as Darien Library director in 2014.
Request for Contributions
Tuesday’s announcement asked supporters to “consider supporting Darien Library with a tax-deductible gift before year’s end.”
“This achievement is because of the extraordinary support of the Friends of Darien Library. While our generous grant from the Town of Darien supports our building operations and staffing, Friends’ donations make everything else possible, including our digital books and programs that serve our entire community. […]
“On behalf of the staff and Board of Trustees, we would like to thank all of the Friends who have already supported the Library this year.”