It's certainly not the first year that the Bernardsville Public Library has been ranked highly by the nationwide Library Journal, but this year the library — which officials called the center and the jewel of the community — moved up a notch further in ratings.
The library's executive director, Karen Brodsky, told the Bernardsville Borough Council on Monday that the library this year is again rated number two in the state, after Avalon, of any sized library in the New Jersey.
The Library Journal, a trade magazine that is the major publication for libraries, also placed the Bernardsville library at number four nationwide in the budget category ranking of libraries with budgets between $1 million to $4.9 million, Brodsky said. Last year, the borough's library at 1 Anderson Hill Road was rated at number five in that category said.
Brodsky said on Tuesday that the Bernardsville library's budget is $1 million, placing it at the low end of that budget category, and that efficient use of funding is one of the hallmarks of the library.
Brodsky told borough officials on Monday that she and library staff consider to be most important the positive feedback they receive from residents.
The Library Journal considers 15 criteria in its rankings, Brodsky later said. That includes circulation figures per capita, how many people use the library's computers or ask questions of reference librarians and how many attend the library's programs. Those programs, including exhibits, lectures, workshops, children's and adults programming and even a concert series, had attracted about 24,000 attendees in 2011, the year on which the rankings are based, she said.
Brodsky said the library's circulation for all library materials during 2011 added up to $218,299 — but that figure, compiled by the N.J. state library — does not include use of the library's electronic database, or the circulation would be much higher.
Mayor Lee Honecker called the library a community center, and Borough Councilman Joe Rossi called it the "jewel of the community."
The library also serves as a warming center and informational hub for emergency management during local emergencies, including during the period following Superstorm Sandy in recent weeks.