TO:                 Mayor and Town Council


FROM:           W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager


SUBJECT:      HAPLR Index 2004 Ranking of the Chapel Hill Public Library as First in the State. 


DATE :          November 22, 2004



This memo includes information about the 2004 Hennen’s American Public Libraries Rating (HAPLR) Index, which compares public library indicators for excellence (Attachment 1).  The Index ranked North Carolina 36th in the nation and the Chapel Hill Public Library 1st in the State, with a rating of 783 out of 1000.



Nationwide public library statistics are collected and disseminated annually through the Federal-State Cooperative System (FSCS) for public library data. Statistics are collected from approximately 9,000 public libraries.       The Federal-State Cooperative System web site may be found at the following web site:

The 2004 Hennen’s American Public Libraries Rating (HAPLR) Index was released mid-year by the U.S. Department of Education and published in the October 2004 American Libraries magazine.    The Index used service measures and 2002 data reported to the Federal-State Cooperative System in 2003 to calculate public library performance nationwide.

As in five previous editions of the HAPLR Index, Chapel Hill Public Library scored 783, the highest score of any public library system in North Carolina.  In second and third places were Southern Pines Public Library (713) and Hickory Public Library (711).  Rankings for all North Carolina public libraries are attached (Attachment 2). 



What the HAPLR Index Measures:  The HAPLR Index includes weights and scores for fifteen factors (six input; nine output) for traditional library activities such as circulation, staffing, collection, reference service, and funding levels.   Libraries are grouped within 10 population groups and then compared to similarly-sized libraries.

Currently, one third of the HAPLR Index is sensitive to materials circulation. In the future, less traditional measures such as electronic resources, non-print collections (audio and video collections), interlibrary loan activity and facility size data will also be included in the HAPLR rating system.

The top ten libraries in Chapel Hill’s 2002 population category received HAPLR ratings of 857-941 (Attachment 1).

Usefulness of the Available Data:  Federal data have only been collected on a consistent national basis since 1981.  Critics believe that, because the HAPLR Index does not measure all library services, it cannot be used as a general measure of excellence for all public libraries.  Proponents feel that, as the data gathering process continues to be refined, HAPLR Index results will provide increasingly consistent and useful information.  


We believe that less traditional library services will be increasingly important to a library’s measure of success in the future and should be included in the HAPLR Index as soon as possible.  We also believe that, as more service measures are compiled for comparison nationally, the HAPLR Index will provide Chapel Hill with increasingly useful statistics to compare its library services with other public library systems, especially those located in academic communities. 




This report is presented for the Council’s information.  We would be pleased to provide further information desired by the Council.




1.   “Great American Public Libraries: The 2004 HAPLRRankings” American Libraries, October 2004 (p. 3).


2.   “Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings (by State),” October 2004 (p. 8).