Study Shows our Library rated Best in State

Library board president Sheryl Heinen, left, and director Karen Holthaus, center are congratulated by Seneca mayor Joe Mitchell on the number one ranking by the Seneca Free Library

By Karen Holthaus, Director

People from outside the area come into the Seneca Library everyday and comment on what a wonderful library Seneca has.  Local residents often come in and tell the staff how proud they are to have such a great library in our community.  The whole community has supported and helped make the library what it is today.

Now everyone in Seneca knows it too!  Seneca Free Library is number one in its size category based on a rating index for the entire state.  Out of 45 libraries across the entire state with a population of between 1500-2499, Seneca Free Library is at the top of the list.  Number One.

The Kansas Public Library Rankings for 2005 were made public in October 2006.  The rating is based on many factors, including resources and usage in the library.  These factors include components such as staff, number of collection materials, collection expenditures, and the number of hours open per week.  Also included are usage factors such as number of items checked out each year, number of materials borrowed from other libraries for patrons, information requests, attendance at children’s programs each year and number of electronic resources, including the internet and computers.

Each library receives a resource score, a usage score and a final composite score, upon which the library is ranked.  The resources make up 50% of the final score with usage data making up the remaining 50%.  This rating is based on the National Hemmen Index, which compares 9000 libraries across the nation.  Seneca has scored in the top ten in this index twice in the last 7 years.

The Kansas Puclic Library Ranking Index is an improvement over the national ranking because it does not include weighted scores.  The data in the Kansas Index is based on the same number of points for each data element.  Seneca and the surrounding area has always been there to help support and improve the Seneca Free Library.

This number one rating shows that everyone has done a wonderful job of being there for the library and has made it an important and vital part of the Seneca community.