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For the third time, the Barrington Area Library has been honored with a coveted four star ranking by Library Journal in its annual Star Libraries report.

For the 2022 report, Library Journal surveyed 5,359 qualifying public libraries in the United States, and 258 received three, four, or five star rankings. This places the Barrington Area Library within the top 4-5% of libraries nationwide, which speaks volumes about the Library’s commitment to innovative and friendly customer service.

This year's ranking is based on data from the Library's 2019-2020 fiscal year, which included three and a half months when the building was closed due to the COVID pandemic. It is not surprising to find that, in this year’s report, the Barrington Area Library ranks particularly high on digital services: electronic circulation, which includes e-books, e-audiobooks, and other digital materials; wifi usage; and website hits.

Rankings are based on eight major service measures – physical material circulation, electronic circulation, number of visits, program attendance, public computer users, wifi sessions, e-resource information retrievals, and website visits – measured per capita. Libraries are also ranked by their annual operating budgets. The Barrington Area Library is the highest ranked four star library within the $5.5-9 million expenditure range.

The Library received its first four star ranking in 2019, after being named a three star library three times since the report was first published in 2009. See the full report on the Library Journal website.

We thank our generous, supportive community for always encouraging us to reach for the highest standards in library service.

The service improvements that began at the Library in August of this year are well underway. We are pleased to announce that three new study rooms, or "Cubicles," are now available in the second floor balcony area. The rooms are suitable for 1-2 guests, and include a table, chairs, and power outlet. One room also has a whiteboard.

Barrington Area Library cardholders may reserve these rooms on our website. For more information or a same-day reservation, please stop at the second floor Reference Desk.

The new holds pick-up area is now available directly across from the Customer Service desk, conveniently located just inside our front entrance. Watch for more improvements coming soon: a special room for nursing mothers, a Local History room, a computing area on the second floor, and improved book browsing on the first floor.

Exciting changes are coming to BALibrary over the next few months. We’ve heard your feedback and we’ll be bringing you new features and more of what you already love:

  • holds pick-up area closer to the front entryway;
  • quieter adult computing area on the second floor;
  • local history room for easier access to our incredible collection of Barrington area historical resources and digitization equipment;
  • nursing room for caregivers and our youngest visitors;
  • three additional study rooms.

In addition, the first floor café and Customer Service area will be reorganized to provide a better browsing experience for all ages.

While work is underway, holds pick-up and some browsing collections will be temporarily housed in the Atrium. Can’t find what you need? Please ask, we’re here to help!

Why now? After eight years in our renovated Library, we want to respond to customer suggestions and provide an even better BALibrary experience. Aspects of this projects were planned before the pandemic, and now that more visitors are returning to in-person Library services, it's the right time to make these improvements.

We estimate that these projects will be completed in October 2022. We will work closely with our contractors to make sure disruption is kept to a minimum.

The Barrington Area Library has once again been honored with a rare, four star ranking by Library Journal, in its annual Star Libraries report. The Library is one of only 15 Star Libraries in the state of Illinois. We thank you, our community, for supporting us so well and taking full advantage of all the benefits your BALibrary card offers, year after year.

For the 2021 report, Library Journal surveyed 5,846 qualifying public libraries in the United States, and 261 received three, four, or five star rankings. This places the Barrington Area Library within the top 4% of libraries nationwide, based on seven major service measures – physical material circulation, electronic circulation, number of visits, program attendance, public computer users, wifi sessions, and e-resource information retrievals - measured per capita. Libraries are also ranked based on their annual operating budgets. This year's ranking is based on data from the Library's 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The Barrington Area Library ranks particularly high - in the top 6% in the nation - on electronic circulation, which includes e-books, e-audiobooks, and other digital materials. The Library also shines in areas like physical circulation (books and DVDs) and wifi usage, and ranks well over the national mean in all but one category.

The Library received its first four star ranking in 2019, after being named a three star library three times since the report was first published in 2009. See the full report on the Library Journal website.

The Youth Services staff have picked their favorite books published in 2021 for readers from ages 0-13. We hope you and your family find some new favorites here, too!