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The City Journals

One for the books—Murray Library earns national ranking

Feb 08, 2018 12:54PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray the Dragon, the Murray City Library’s mascot, is a hit with the kids. (Photo Murray Library)

By Shaun Delliskave  |  [email protected]


Murray City Library joined elite company being recognized as a “Star Library” by the national trade publication Library Journal. Murray was one of only three Utah libraries, including Salt Lake City Library and Salt Lake County Library—West Jordan branch, to be recognized.

Out of 7,409 U.S. public libraries qualified to be rated in Library Journal’s index, only 259 Star Libraries received three-star, four-star or five-star designations. Along with Murray’s three-star rating, it was ranked the 12th best nationally for program attendance per capita.

“I am elated that Murray Library received a national ranking, but the statistical rankings are only a small part of the picture of what we are trying to accomplish at Murray Library,” said Murray Library Director Kim Fong.

The Library Journal star ranking designation is an index of transactions for public libraries across the nation. Libraries are ranked by five per-capita measures: circulation, electronic circulation, library visits, total program attendance and public internet computer use. Libraries are scored based on their statistical performance in each of these measures and ranked with libraries that have similar budgets.

Every year, all public libraries in the country file a statistical report to their state libraries. The reported statistics are used in determining the ranking.

“Our mission is to be your friendly hometown library,” said Fong. “We constantly strive to give library users the best experience. That kind of service cannot be measured by statistics.”

The library offers a variety of programs for all ages, both inside and outside the library. Fong has staff members who are specifically assigned to plan and present programs. 

“Many people in our community appreciate these programs and the efforts of our staff,” noted Fong.

One of the library’s most popular offerings is its online story time, which is available on their YouTube channel. “We have viewers around the world that watch these videos, which are produced here at Murray Library.”

For kids, the library offers popular programs such as Stop in for Stories and Wiggle Worms, which are story times for preschoolers and toddlers. The library also has monthly programs for families, which attract many attendees. 

The library has other community outreach programs in addition to its literary efforts. Kids’ Café, in partnership with the Utah Food Bank, feeds kids after school twice a week at the library.

As part of the library’s outreach effort, they have added a library mascot, Murray the Dragon. He often attends library events, as well as visits community events outside of the library.

Fong noted that they are making a determined effort to improve the atmosphere of the library after area schools let out. Its proximity to Hillcrest Junior High has caused some issues with student loitering in the past. 

“At the beginning of this school year, we hired a security monitor, which has resulted in a significant reduction in noise and rowdy behavior. Our goal is to make the library an inviting place for everyone at all times of the day.”

Murray Library is now offering Homebound Service for library users who are unable to come to the library. Homebound individuals can consult with a librarian and have items mailed to their home. The delivery includes a return label, which allows for easy returns for those using the service.

The library has been included in discussions for relocating it to the new Murray City Center District. City leaders have yet to determine if a move is feasible since the library is currently in a 99-year lease with Murray City School District.

Regardless, Fong said the library will emphasize its patrons and the services it provides to the community. “We try not to focus on statistics, but try to find ways to truly improve the lives of the people that use our services.”