Newton County ranked top library system in state

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Library System has been ranked the top library system in Georgia by Hennen's American Public Library Ratings.

HAPLR is a professionally recognized system that ranks libraries on how well they are utilizing financial resources, based on the number of people who use the library system and the size of the community it serves.

In other words, "We served more people here more efficiently and more effectively. Basically, the staff here has done a really, really good job and the public really likes us and uses us," said Library Director Greg Heid. "This shows we're really giving the public a good turnaround for their dollar and good customer service."

The ranking is based on statistics submitted for fiscal year 2009. Newton County Library scored a rating of 616 out of 1,000, the highest in the state.

Each year, public libraries across Georgia submit statistics to the State Library of Georgia, including the number of items checked out; number of people who use the library; the number of reference questions answered; the number of people using computers in the library and more. Libraries also report the amount of local government funding they receive.

The state then submits a compilation of the information to the federal government.

HAPLR uses six input and nine output statistical data points to calculate a ranking for each public library in the country. The ranking identifies how well a library system is serving the community with the funding it receives.

"I am very proud of the service that the Newton County Library System offers to our population in Newton County," said Marc Jordan, chairman of the Newton County Library System. "This is official recognition for what we all have come to expect -- excellent library service in Newton County."

The second highest ranked library in Georgia was the Forsyth County Public Library System in Cumming, followed by the Flint River Regional Library System in Griffin. Rounding out the top five were Dougherty County Public Library System in Albany and Chattahoochee Valley Regional Library System in Columbus. The lowest ranked library system in the state was Hart County Library System in Hartwell.

"To be ranked the top library in Georgia is an honor and a true achievement to attain," Jordan said. "We will work hard to continue the same excellent service to library users in Newton County in the future."