Westporters know that our library is great.
Now, the rest of the nation knows it too.
The Westport Library has just been honored with the highest score possible: a 5-star rating from Public Library Service’s 2022 Library Journal Index.
It’s the only 5-star library in the Library Journal Index.
Of the 5,359 public libraries assessed last year, only 85 received 5 stars. That vaults the Westport Library into the top 1.6% of public libraries in the U.S.
“We are overjoyed to receive this distinction,” says Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library.
“This recognition validates and celebrates the engagement of and high value that our community places on the services that this Library provides, and the hard work and dedication of our staff, board of trustees, and our donors and volunteers — those who enable us to imagine and execute our programs and realize our vision to make The Westport Library a community gathering space and a hub for innovation.”
Harmer also offers “a huge thank you to the hundreds of people who come to the library every day and provide the input we rely on to make sure we’re meeting the needs of Westporters, and all visitors throughout Fairfield County and beyond.”
In determining its ratings, the Journal — America’s oldest library service publication — compares institutions with similar annual expenditures. Scores and ratings are based on circulation of physical materials, circulation of electronic materials, library visits, library program attendance, public internet users, Wi-Fi sessions, library website visits, and usage of online content like databases.
The Westport Library performed particularly well in several categories, including library visits, program attendance and website visits.
“In so many ways, this confirms what we’ve long known: that the Westport Library is not only an invaluable community resource, but also one of the finest libraries in the nation,” says First Selectwoman Jen Tooker. “It is clearly one of the primary reasons Westport is the best place to live, work, and play in the region.”
The Westport Library began in 1886 as a reading room in downtown Westport, moved across the Post Road in 1908 after a donation from Morris Jesup, and moved to its current location along the Saugatuck River in 1986.
In 2019 the Library underwent a “transformation project” that reimagined the space to provide more accessibility, adaptability and flexibility.
After a drop in attendance during the height of COVID, the Library has returned to full programming. Daily attendance has surged, with more than 400,000 visitors expected in the current fiscal year.