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One for the books: Eugene Public Library earns seventh national merit

Brian Bull
The Eugene Public Library, in the downtown area.

Check this out: Eugene Public Library has been deemed a “Star Library” in a nationwide ranking again.

In its annual “Index of Public Library Service 2022”, the Library Journal evaluated and ranked 5,359 public libraries across the U.S. Criteria include visitation, check-outs, computer use, and attendance of programs.

Will O’Hearn is director of Eugene Public Library. He’s also proud that the rankings put it in the top 3% for excellence in cost-effective delivery of key services.

“Every dollar that goes to the library, we really get the most out of it,” O’Hearn told KLCC. “That’s what the award really means.

Brian Bull
Book return and front entryway, Eugene Public Library.

“And what it represents, is that we’re able to provide first-class library services to all Eugeneans and that we’re doing a good job in making sure people get all of their literacy -and all other needs- filled.”

Despite the pandemic, the Eugene Public Library still served nearly 800,000 patrons, with 1.7 million items checked out. O’Hearn says this is the seventh time it’s won a “Star Library” ranking, and the third consecutive year for the distinction.

Meanwhile, the library wants patrons to weigh in on its future.

On its website is a survey which asks for feedback on existing services and spaces, and possible new services.

O’Hearn said he’s proud of the library’s role in the Eugene community, and hopes people will fill out the online survey.

“That gives us guidance on where we can go to make sure we’re meeting all your needs. We know in the last two, almost three years now, we’ve pivoted and pivoted, and all your needs have pivoted as well too, so we really want to be on the cutting edge to understand: What are the new needs in your world? What are the ways we can help you?

“Because for us at the library, it’s not just about the things libraries do, but how can we help the whole community?”

The survey takes roughly five minutes to complete. O’Hearn expects it to be up until at least the end of January.

©2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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