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The Best Libraries in America?. An Explanation of Hennen’s American Public Library Rating. HAPLR Overview. Provides ratings for 9,000 U.S. libraries. Compares to comparably sized libraries in the state and nation. American Libraries. Rating Information.

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the best libraries in america
The Best Libraries in America?

An Explanation of Hennen’s American Public Library Rating

haplr overview
HAPLR Overview
  • Provides ratings for 9,000 U.S. libraries.
  • Compares to comparably sized libraries in the state and nation.

american libraries
American Libraries

rating information
Rating Information
  • Composite score on 6 input and 9 output measures
  • Similar to ACT or SAT scores
  • Scores from 0 to 1,000. However, most libraries at 260 to 730

percentile comparisons
Percentile Comparisons

Percentiles compare to all libraries in a population category.

A 90th percentile means library scores higher than 90% of comparably sized libraries.

haplr score map
HAPLR Score Map

haplr percentile graph
HAPLR Percentile Graph

standard reports
Standard Reports

weighting of factors
Weighting of Factors

Some factors weigh more than others in HAPLR Totals

First six are input

measures, remaining nine

are output measures.

percentile comparisons14
Percentile Comparisons

special reports
Special Reports

regional comparison
Regional Comparison

regional detail
Regional Detail

library special report
Library Special Report

state special report
State Special Report

tennessee ohio
Tennessee& Ohio


american libraries article on standards
American Libraries Article on Standards
  • Objections in past have been from:
    • High scorers
    • Low Scorers
  • Therefore we have “build-your-own” targets –
    • Planning for Results

the article proposes
The Article Proposes:
  • Minimum Standards
  • Target Standards
  • Benchmarks of Excellence –
        • Genius Grants

genius grants
Genius Grants
  • HAPLR type measures for qualification
  • ISO 9000 Certification –
    • Voluntary quality documentation
  • American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)
  • Unrestricted grants – Baldridge with $
    • Library school field placements
    • Virtual training – Internet

faq 1

What led to the HAPLR ratings?

Why not consider electronic measures?

Why not consider square feet for the building?

Isn’t it really quality of service that counts, why rate quantity only?

faq 2

Do I plan to continue publishing?

Are there similar rating methods for libraries?

Why is the data so out of date?

faq 3

How many libraries are there in each population category?

Can one compare rating numbers between two or more population categories?

faq 4

How can one mix both input and output measures?

What does a given rating number mean, and how should I interpret it?

Where can I see the specific calculations behind the ratings?


HAPLR Ratings are an attempt to encapsulate a lot of data in a single number. No such number is perfect, of course.

Was the weather better before climatologists invented the wind chill index or does it just seem that way?