Technology is a wonder; it can also be a horror," says Thomas J. Hennen Jr., whose eighth public library rankings article appeared in the October issue of American Libraries (p. 56-61). Just after the issue went to print, Hennen discovered an unfortunate error that invalidated the results of this edition of Hennen's American Public Library Ratings (HAPLR8).
"I referred to the wrong data set in my computer files. The result was republishing the last edition, scoring and ranking every library the same for the 2008 as for the 2006 edition," Hennen said. "I have now redone things, and I apologize to everyone for this terrible mistake."
AL is republishing the ranking tables here in order to correct the print record, and the new numbers are posted on the HAPLR website at www.haplr-index.com. They are also available in PDF format on the AL website. Libraries that use these ratings for publicity, to distribute to boards, or for other promotional purposes can download the corrected pages at www.ala.org/alonline.
So what has actually changed in the statewide outlook over the past four years? New Mexico and Wyoming have increased their standings the most (from 42nd to 25th for New Mexico) and from 23rd to 15th for Wyoming. Maine, Arizona, and Florida have fallen in the standings the most (from 26th to 33rd for Maine, from 18th to 23rd for Arizona, and. from 30th to 35th for Florida). Ohio, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Indiana all maintained their relative spots in the top five. Mississippi, Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Alabama, and Tennessee took the bottom five spots for this year's rankings.
The top 10 libraries in each service population category are listed on the accompanying charts. Ranking number one in their respective slots are six Ohio libraries: Columbus Metropolitan Library (500 K), Washington-Centerville Public Library (50 K), North Canton Public Library (25 K), Twinsburg Public Library (10 K), Columbiana Public Library (5 K), and Grand Valley Public Library (2.5 K). The other four in the number-one slots are: Howard County in Maryland (250 K), Naperville Public Library in Illinois (100 K), Sodus Free Library in New York (1 K), and Hardtner Public Library in Kansas (less than 1 K).
American Libraries sincerely regret this error and the confusion this has undoubtedly caused. Since they were first published in 1999, the HAPLR rankings have been used by many libraries to tout their success to local media, so we tried to get the correct numbers and rankings on the record as quickly as possible online and through American Libraries Direct. Hennen also personally notified libraries that fell significantly down or off the charts entirely in the corrected ratings.
How could such a mistake happen? Hennen offered what he called "an explanation, not an excuse": "I referred to the wrong file on my computer. I have Excel spreadsheets for HAPLR data on my computer going back to 2000. Each folder has multiple spreadsheets with a variety of computations for various activities and reports. Last fall, when the late publication of the federal data caused the cancellation of the 2007 edition, I set up a file as a test for developing the next edition. I used the data for the 2006 ratings. I was testing layout, comparing to the forthcoming LJ Index, and looking at options for changing the elements used in the ratings. I filed the spreadsheet in the HAPLR2008 folder--as it turned out, a major mistake.
"When the new federal data (fiscal 2005) for the 2008 edition was finally published, I placed that file on my 'desktop'--the flip side of the major mistake I just mentioned. When it came time to write the American Libraries article and publish the 2008 website, I went to my HAPLR2008 file rather than to the correct desktop files; so close, so close, and yet so far! The result was republishing the last edition, scoring and ranking every library the same as for the 2006 edition."
All of us involved in publishing HAPLR2008 offer sincere apologies to our readers. --L.K.
Top 10 Libraries in 10 Population Categories Pop Rank Library State Score 500,000 1 Columbus Metropolitan Library OH 879 2 Cuyahoga County Public Library OH 871 3 Multnomah County Library OR 830 4 Hennepin County Library MN 803 5 Salt Lake County Library System UT 802 6 Baltimore County Public Library MD 796 7 Denver Public Library CO 789 8 King County Library System WA 776 9 Pikes Peak Library District CO 747 10 Public Library of Cincinnati And OH 743 Hamilton County 250,000 1 Howard County Library MD 892 2 Santa Clara County Library CA 876 3 Saint Charles City-County Library MO 856 District 4 Central Rappahannock Regional VA 814 Library 5 Madison Public Library WI 811 6 Lincoln City Libraries NE 793 7 Johnson County Library KS 788 8 Kent District Library Ml 755 9 Stark County District Library OH 754 10 Allen County Public Library IN 748 100,000 1 Naperville Public Library IL 945 2 Monroe County Public Library IN 901 3 Santa Clara City Library 897 4 Douglas County Libraries CO 878 5 Medina County District Library OH 873 6 Arapahoe Library District CO 868 7 Salt Lake City Public Library UT 865 8 Schaumburg Twp District Library IL 860 9 St Joseph County Public Library IN 857 10 Loudoun County Public Library VA 855 50,000 1 Washington-Centerville Public OH 949 Library 2 Worthington Public Library OH 916 3 Carmel Clay Public Library IN 914 4 Euclid Public Library OH 914 5 Newton Free Library MA 900 6 Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library OH 896 7 Geauga County Public Library OH 882 8 Wheaton Public Library IL 882 9 Lakewood Public Library OH 879 10 West Bloomfield Township Public MI 878 Library 25,000 1 North Canton Public Library OH 933 2 Porter Public Library OH 922 3 Upper Arlington Public Library OH 909 4 Wadsworth Public Library OH 900 5 Elmhurst Public Library IL 896 6 Plymouth District Library MI 893 7 Lake Oswego Public Library OR 887 8 St. Charles Public Library District IL 886 9 Middleton Public Library WI 884 10 Crystal Lake Public Library IL 884 10,000 1 Twinsburg Public Library OH 956 2 Wickliffe Public Library OH 936 3 Hays Public Library KS 930 4 Madison Public Library OH 921 5 Orrville Public Library OH 911 6 Peters Township Public Library PA 905 7 Rocky River Public Library OH 902 8 Darien Library CT 901 9 Henry Carter Hull Library CT 899 10 Way Public Library OH 893 5,000 1 Columbiana Public Library OH 953 2 Bridgeport Public Library WV 933 3 Wright Memorial Public Library OH 919 4 Crestline Public Library OH 907 5 New Cumberland Public Library PA 907 6 Bristol Public Library OH 906 7 Dover Town Library MA 906 8 Kinsman Free Public Library OH 899 9 Grandview Heights Public Library OH 899 10 Freeport Community Library ME 891 2,500 1 Grand Valley Public Library OH 924 2 Mt. Pleasant Public Library UT 914 3 James Kennedy Public Library IA 914 4 Bell Memorial Public Library IN 900 5 Pelican Rapids Public Library MN 898 6 Tracy Memorial Library NH 885 7 Belleville Public Library WI 883 8 Rock Valley Public Library IA 878 9 Perry Public Library OH 875 10 Soldotna Public Library AK 870 1,000 1 Sodus Free Library NY 921 2 Centerburg Public Library OH 917 3 Flomaton Public Library AL 914 4 Runals Memorial Library MN 900 5 Seneca Free Library KS 898 6 Utica Public Library District IL 890 7 Conrad Public Library IA 887 8 Dike Public Library IA 877 9 Hazel L Meyer Memorial Library SD 876 10 Upton County Public Library TX 870 >1,000 1 Hardtner Public Library KS 892 2 Poland Public Library NY 890 3 Wagnalls Memorial Library OH 880 4 Browns Valley Public Library MN 875 5 New Woodstock Free Library NY 873 6 Clayville Library Association NY 870 7 Meadow Grove Public Library NE 863 8 Raquette Lake Free Library NY 860 9 Silverton Public Library CO 858 10 Washburn Public Library TN 852…