There's not much to the Lawrence Public Library - but it has a devoted clientele nonetheless.
That seems to be the bottom line of the latest Kansas Public Library Rankings, which rates Lawrence's library fourth among nine Kansas cities serving populations between 25,000 and 99,999.
"One could make the case that people in Lawrence love their library," said Steve Read, director of the McPherson Public Library, who compiled the rankings. "You could also make the case that the resources aren't there - that usage would be greater if the resources were greater."
The rankings were released in October, but came to light this week when the Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library began publicly touting its top rank for libraries serving more than 100,000 people.
Lawrence fell behind public libraries in Hutchinson, Manhattan and Salina, respectively, in its population category.
The ratings were determined based on a formula that evaluated library resources and usage. Lawrence ranked near the bottom of the nine cities in its class in resources, seventh in building size per capita and eighth in collection items per capita.
"If you look at the resource score, you see Lawrence's resources are lower than Dodge City's," Read said.
But Lawrence ranked high in the number of books, videos and other collection items that were checked out by patrons, helping bring up the library's overall score.
"I think that our position in the rankings is a reflection of the extraordinarily high usage we receive in the community," said Bruce Flanders, director of the Lawrence Public Library. "I guess we're making the most of what we have."
The rankings emerge as City Hall considers an expansion of the library that could cost taxpayers up to $30 million. Mayor Mike Amyx said this week he was not surprised by Lawrence's rating.
"I think that's one of the things we've been told through this process, that we have a lot of usage of the library - that's one of the reasons for the expansion of the library, is so we have the resources for people to use it," Amyx said.
Library board members will meet at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the library, 707 Vt., to discuss expansion recommendations.
More about the library proposal
- 6News video: New report has listed Lawrence Public Library as "average"
- Scaled-back plans for public library unveiled to city (11-18-06)
- Mayor favors current library site (11-15-06)
- Public should weigh in on new library, mayor says (11-11-06)
- Long story short: Grand vision for public library scaled way back (10-22-06)
- New study will scale back design plans for library (09-27-06)