Former member of the Westerville Library Foundation and the Westerville Parks Foundation, Eric Busch, along with his wife Susan, has presented the Westerville Library Foundation with funding to purchase the sculpture Cochlea Bench. The popular sculpture has been located on the library's lawn as a part of the "Public Art in Westerville Spaces" sculpture program - a yearly lease program initiated in 2011 by the Westerville Parks and Recreation Department, Westerville Parks Foundation and the Arts Council of Westerville - that has placed a variety of sculptures at sites throughout our community.
There is nothing quite like the experience of meeting the author of a great book. Or, hearing an author read in his or her own voice the story he has chosen to tell. Over the past few years the library has partnered with the Westerville Library Foundation to present an ongoing program of talks by bestselling authors.
I want to thank everyone who has helped make the library’s Meet the Authors series such a great success. Unbelievably, it’s been four years since a visit from famed documentarian Ken Burns laid the groundwork in 2011.
In 2014, Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher thrillers, and Diana Gabaldon, writer of the hugely popular Outlander book and TV series, took our author series to a new level. In response to enthusiastic Outlander fans, we moved that presentation to Westerville Central’s gymnasium where she charmed over 1,500 attendees.
This February, we welcomed Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket followed by A Desperate Fortune writer Suzanne Kearsley. Newly relocated to the Columbus area, Piper Kerman, author of the book and Netflix series Orange is the New Black joined us in June, as well as a July 1st stop by Daniel Silva, who shared his new release The English Spy. Audiences for nearly all of these programs have been capacity crowds, averaging 700 attendees.
We now anxiously await the upcoming visit of Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn - another opportunity for our community to experience meeting a stellar author.
If you have visited the library lately, you’ve probably noticed the construction in our parking lot. The existing parking lot, now nearly 20 years old, is getting a facelift. New drainage is being added and repairs are being made on the brick and asphalt surfaces in the lot and roadway.
This project is scheduled for completion by June 1st. Meanwhile, we deeply appreciate your patience during the disruption. Even greater news is that the library and the City of Westerville are partnering on a project that will provide an additional 60 to 65 parking spaces in the area located between the library’s current parking lot and the bike trail near the railroad depot. We expect construction to begin in August and are excited to be able to offer this long-awaited additional parking.
We look forward to re-opening our lot and are grateful for the opportunity to work with the City in creating much-needed parking space. The additional parking, along with the upgrades to the library’s HVAC system this summer, will make access to our library services more convenient and comfortable.
In 2014, our library was once again ranked as one of America’s finest libraries, receiving the coveted Five-Star rating. I would like to take a few moments to highlight some of our achievements that helped us earn Library Journal’s highest rating.
For the first time, Best Employers in Ohio and SHRM named our library as one of best places to work in the state, ranking 16th among small to medium size companies.
The library again circulated over 2.1 million items as the fourth busiest public library facility in Ohio, and our customers attended the library's 2,140 programs in record numbers. Programs were highlighted by two successful author events: visits by author of the Jack Reacher novels Lee Child and Diana Gabaldon, author of the hugely popular Outlander series.
The author series is hitting new heights in 2015. In February, Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, was a huge hit with all ages. We're looking forward to visits from A Desperate Fortune novelist Susanna Kearsley, Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman and NY Times bestselling author Daniel Silva. Finally, excitement will be high when Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn visits in November.
This year additional parking is on the horizon. In partnership with the city of Westerville, plans are underway to add between 45 and 60 parking spaces. We also will repave the parking lot and the roadway. The library’s 1955 HVAC system will be replaced as well, making the library much more energy efficient.
I thank you for another wonderful year at the Westerville Public Library and for a very promising 2015. Your continued support is deeply appreciated.
Don W. Barlow
Once again, Library Journal has recognized the Westerville Public Library as a Five-Star Library. Of the 7,586 public libraries nationwide that were ranked this year, only 85 were awarded a five-star rating, placing Westerville in the top 1% of all public libraries in the United States.
This prestigious and very welcomed national recognition is awarded to libraries that are the heaviest used and most cost efficient. Ratings are determined by community support, number of library visits, items borrowed, program attendance, computer usage and cost per capita. Scores are then compared to those of libraries within the same budget range.
We are grateful and humbled by this national recognition. We have a deep appreciation for the role our customers, Library Board of Trustees, dedicated and top-notch staff and wonderful community partners have played in this accomplishment.
We thank you for helping us achieve the ranking as one of America's finest libraries. We are proud of our past successes and with your continued support, we are excited about our future.
For more information about library rankings, visit Library Journal.
Don W. Barlow, Executive Director
I often write to you announcing a new award or accolade. This time I’m letting patrons and the taxpayers know some unfortunate news, as it is our duty and responsibility to report both to the good and bad. In October, one of the library’s deputy fiscal officers was arrested and charged with embezzling more than $20,000. This came after library staff found financial discrepancies in overdue fines, beverage service and coin-operated machines accounts.
While the legal process continues to play out, Library staff is fully cooperating with the law enforcement investigation. Whatever the case’s outcome, there will be no loss of funds to taxpayers, as all of the library’s fiscal staff is bonded, and the Library and our insurer will demand full restitution.
This unfortunate situation presents the Library with an opportunity to improve our financial processes and tighten our fiscal controls. The library board, staff and outside experts are working diligently to determine if all protocols were followed and to ascertain what changes are needed to prevent future problems. We will continue to keep you informed of the situation as we move forward.
Don W. Barlow