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Published: Tuesday, 11/11/2003

Toledo library a top-10 hit among readers

The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library has kept its place among the top-10 ranked libraries among cities of similar size, marking the fourth consecutive year it has been recognized by the national rating index.

The Toledo system was evaluated from among 95 U.S. libraries serving populations of 250,000 to 499,999, said Thomas Hennen, Jr., of Hennen s American Public Library Ratings. Mr. Hennen, a longtime Wisconsin librarian, gathers data from about 9,000 libraries and ranks them according to how much of its budget is devoted to materials, how much per person it spends on materials, turnover of its collection of books, periodicals, staff, circulation, reference availability, and other factors.

Northwest Ohio s largest library system dropped a spot from eighth last year and seventh the previous year.

That may be because Toledo-Lucas County Public Libraries were closed for 228 days in 2001 because of construction and the loss of Sunday hours, Director Clyde Scoles said.

“When they look at libraries across the nation, they look at hours of service,” Mr. Scoles said. “With us being closed on Sundays, that might have put a dent in the rankings.”

On Nov. 4, voters approved a 1-mill operating levy for the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, which will last four years and generate about $7.8 million in revenue for more books, better computer facilities, and the resumption of Sunday library hours.

Those funds are in addition to a capital improvement bond issue approved in 1995 used to redesign and expand the Main Library and the system s 18 branches.

The Dayton and Montgomery Public Library system ranked sixth in the same category, up from seventh last year.

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