Readers Are Leaders
I was surprised that Forbes gave St. Louis excellent grades for public schools, while the area’s libraries earned only a C+. Now Edudiva points out a ranking that gives St. Louis high marks for its libraries, and wonders how the two studies reached such different conclusions:
One difference between the two is that the Central Connecticut State University library study just looked at St. Louis city; whereas, the Forbes report looked at the entire metropolitan area. […]
I couldn’t find the specific methodology for the places ranked (Forbes) study, but it discussed number of volumes and turnover. It looks like the CCSU study looks at a wider variety of factors by adding in accessibility and number of librarians.
The St. Louis Public Library does have some great resources (watch the video in Edudiva’s post to learn more) but you have to know exactly what you’re looking for. Some things are off in special reading rooms. Most books are in the closed stacks, so you can’t just wander around and browse. I guess the library does that for safety and to protect the books, but I’ve always appreciated the county library’s open stacks policy.
I’m not sure how this affected the rankings, though, because the study that considered only St. Louis city was much more positive about library services than the study that included the county. Maybe the county’s many bookstores compete with the libraries and bring circulation statistics down.