January 2014

Winter 2014 Message from the Director:
Celebrating the Library's 160th Anniversary

Community member Amina Tuki, Kimber Fender, The Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director First Lady Michelle Obama Community member Amina Tuki, The Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director Kim Fender
receiving the IMLS Award from First Lady Michelle Obama

Hamilton County voters approved, with an 80% for vote, extending our 1 mill levy for an additional 10 years providing some much needed stability to our funding. Although there were 26 additional library levies on the ballot last November, none reached the 80% threshold our Library passed. We thank all of you for your generous support of the Library.

In May we received the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s top honor for museums and libraries. This prestigious award recognizes museums and libraries for their community impact and we are proud to have been selected for this honor.

Then, in November, the Library Journal (LJ) Index 2013, which ranks libraries according to per capita circulation, visits, program attendance, and Internet awarded us a five star rating, the highest rating possible. For libraries with budgets of $30 million or more we ranked 2nd in the country.

Our Library was ranked 3rd in circulation among libraries serving a population between 500,000 and 999,999 and 7th overall. The Main Library was once again the busiest in the country and is the 2nd most visited attraction in Downtown Cincinnati. July was the busiest month in the Library’s history and we are projecting 2013 to be our busiest year, based on circulation.

We reached our goal of 500,000 cardholders in May, and as of November 30 we have more than 524,000 cardholders. Nearly 90% of households in Hamilton County have at least one Library cardholder.

LJ Five Star Rating

We began the largest facilities plan in more than 25 years as we moved forward with the construction of two new buildings for St. Bernard and Reading, fulfilling longstanding commitments to replace small, rental or contributed facilities with larger branch libraries. The renovation of the Cox House into a branch to replace the current Clifton rental location also got underway as did an accessibility renovation of the historic Avondale Branch, a Carnegie branch that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013. All projects will be paid for without debt and are projected for completion in 2015.

We completed the Phase II energy retrofit project at the Main Library which saves energy and money, a projected $430,000 annually. As a result of this project, Duke Energy selected the Library for its Power Partner Award to be presented at the February 11 board meeting. A second incentive check from Duke Energy for more than $200,000 will also be presented at that meeting.

Our Annual Report, prepared by Northlich, received a bronze award at the recently held Cincinnati Public Relations Society of America Blacksmith Awards Ceremony.

In April we joined SearchOhio, a statewide consortium of libraries that share resources with one another. Our cardholders are really taking advantage of the ability to easily place holds on items owned by other libraries and have them delivered to their local branch—for free!

Finally, our wonderful Friends of the Library received some well-deserved recognition for all their hard work when the Ohio Library Council selected them for the Ohio Friends of Library award for 2012-13. The award was presented at a special luncheon held during the Council’s conference in October.

It is an honor and a real pleasure to serve a community that supports its library and uses it so heavily. Every librarian should be so lucky. Thank you.

--Kimber L. Fender, The Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director