Westport Library Honored with Prestigious 5-Star Rating as One of Top Libraries in the Country

Mon, Jan 9, 2023
EJ Crawford

The Westport Library has been honored with a 5-star rating from Public Library Service’s 2022 Library Journal Index — the highest score available — distinguishing it as one of the top libraries in the United States.

The Westport Library is the only 5-star library in the state of Connecticut, per the Library Journal Index. Overall, 5,359 public libraries were assessed for 2022, 85 of which received 5-star status, placing The Westport Library in the top 1.6% of public libraries in the U.S.

“We are overjoyed to receive this distinction,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “This recognition validates and celebrates the engagement of and high value that our community places on the services that this Library provides and the hard work and dedication of our staff, board of trustees, and our donors and volunteers — those who enable us to imagine and execute our programs and realize our vision to make The Westport Library a community gathering space and a hub for innovation.”

“And of course, a huge thank you to the hundreds of people who come to the library every day and provide the input we rely on to make sure we’re meeting the needs of Westporters and all visitors throughout Fairfield County and beyond.”

Said Library board president Jeremy Price: “On behalf of The Westport Library's Board of Trustees, I congratulate all who worked so hard to make The Westport Library one of the very best in the country. The 5-star recognition is as impressive and commendable as it is well-deserved.”

In determining the ratings, the Library Journal, the nation’s oldest and most respected library service publication, compared The Westport Library to other libraries with similar annual expenditures. Scores and star ratings were based on circulation of physical materials, circulation of electronic materials, library visits, library program attendance, public internet users, Wi-Fi sessions, library website visits, and e-retrievals (usage of online content such as databases).

The Westport Library received the top honor due to the extent that patrons use the Library and its resources, performing exceptionally well in several of the evaluated categories including library visits, program attendance, and website visits.

“As contributors to the Library, and in particular The Children’s Library, my wife and I are extremely proud that our support, and the continuing support of all the other donors, has proved beneficial to all those involved within the Library community in earning this 5-star rating,” said longtime Library supporter Bud Siegel.

“In so many ways, this confirms what we’ve long known: that The Westport Library is not only an invaluable community resource, but also one of the finest libraries in the nation,” said Westport First Selectwoman Jen Tooker. “It is clearly one of the primary reasons Westport is the best place to live, work, and play in the region.”

The Westport Library was started in 1886 as a reading room in downtown Westport. The Library moved to its own dedicated building on Post Road East in 1908 before relocating to its current location overlooking Jesup Green in 1986. In 2019, the Library underwent a wholesale transformation that reimagined the space to provide more accessibility, adaptability, and flexibility.

After an expected drop in attendance during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library has returned to full programming and is back to normal daily attendance, with more than 400,000 visitors expected to pass through its doors during the current fiscal year.

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