Director's Message - Fall 2007

Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2007, 7:47 am

On May 9, I learned that Worthington Libraries was the recipient of the 2007 national Library of the Year award.

Members of Library Journal's editorial board, representatives from Thomson Gale's Executive Committee and librarians from around the country judge applicants based on the following factors:

The award is presented annually by Thomson Gale Publishing and Library Journal to the library that most profoundly demonstrates community service. Previously, Worthington Libraries had been a finalist for the award in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2006.

  • Service to the community
  • Creativity and innovation in developing specific community programs
  • Dramatic increase in library use
  • Leadership in creating programs that can be emulated by other libraries

We shared news of the award with the community at a special press conference held on Friday, June 15. More than 250 people turned out to hear our "big announcement." They were overjoyed to learn that their library was selected as the best in the country.

The Library was officially honored at a special award ceremony held on June 25 in Washington, DC during the American Library Association's annual conference. The Library received a beautiful statue and a check for $10,000. Worthington Libraries also received special recognition with two resolutions delivered at the Ohio Statehouse and at a meeting of the Worthington City Council. I have been congratulated by patrons, neighbors, community members and colleagues from across the state and throughout the country. Many want to know the formula for creating a winning library. I believe it's an involved and educated community that truly values and cares about the Library combined with an enthusiastic, professional staff and dedicated trustees.

Worthington residents trust the Library to make responsible financial decisions and to provide them with the maximum return on their investment in library services. We continually meet the "gold standard" for library planning, defined as 20% of a library's annual budget spent on materials. Worthington Libraries has spent an average of 22.6% of its annual budget on library materials since 1979. As further evidence of the library's good stewardship of public funds, I'm pleased to report that we recently completed our first Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This report, for the calendar year ended December 31, 2006, has been prepared using generally accepted accounting principles for governments. It contains financial statements and other financial and statistical data that provide complete and full disclosure of all material financial aspects of Worthington Libraries. The full report is accessible online at

Community involvement extends far beyond financial support for the Library. In terms of use, Worthington Libraries ranks ninth in the state, behind only the eight metropolitan library systems. Annual library circulation has increased 150% since 1991.

Library programs, which number more than 1,200 annually and include offerings for children, teens, adults, business professionals and seniors, were attended by more than 42,000 people last year. Many of these programs are presented in partnership with other community organizations. A prime example is the "Harry Potter & the Final Chapter" event held on July 20 at Old Worthington Library. Several downtown businesses partnered with the Library during this 15-hour celebration leading up to the release of the final book in the Harry Potter series. It was attended by thousands of people, many of whom stayed for the duration, making it the most successful event in the library's history.

Beyond just a place to check out books or attend programs, the Library is an integral part of community life. Old Worthington Library and Northwest Library are centers of neighborhood life, and we're confident the new Worthington Park Library (see inside for more details) will quickly become the same for northeast area residents when it opens next year.

Winning the Library of the Year award has been a wonderful and gratifying experience, but seeing our buildings humming with activity each and every day is the ultimate reward. Thank you for everything you do to support the Library. Thanks, especially, to taxpayers who passed a levy to support the Library in 1992 and 2005.

— Meribah Mansfield

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