At a time when the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) is seeing record,plcmc_color_bigger.jpg double-digit percent increases in usage, while at the same time facing potential budget cuts, a national index of public library service from Library Journal has recognized PLCMC among the top libraries in the country.

Library Journal (LJ), the library field’s leading professional publication, has created the LJ Index of Public Library Service, a “star” rating system similar to the Michelin and Mobile guides used for restaurants and hotels. They have given PLCMC a “Five-Star” rating, the highest possible. The inclusion of the Library in this select grouping is a credit not only to the organization and its employees, but also to the community that it serves.

In addition to its Five-Star rating, PLCMC is the only library system in NC that made it on the LJ Index and one of only two Five-Star libraries in any category that is located in the Southeast. Additionally, LJ asked PLCMC to submit “Models You Can Use” – innovative practices that other libraries can learn from and emulate. Among 15 libraries in comparable budget categories, PLCMC ranked #3 in overall score and was the only library system in the Southeast to receive a Five-Star rating. In individual output indicators, in its budget category, PLCMC ranked:
·         #1 in program attendance per capita
·         #5 in visits per capita
·         #6 in internet terminal uses per capita
·         #11 in circulation per capita

The LJ Index is a new assessment tool for public libraries, just released this month. It is based on 2006 data reported by local libraries to their state library agencies and compiled by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This is an index of public library service, determined equally by four output indicators: visits, circulation, program attendance, and public Internet computer use. The LJ Index rated a total of 7,115 public libraries from across the nation. For Fact Sheet and more information about the LJ Index, visit www.libraryjournal.com/ljindex2009.