Ohio named “nerdiest” state due to high library usage

Amanda Crumm

Ohio has been named the “nerdiest” state in the nation based on the highest amount of library visits (6.9) per capita, according to pleated-jeans.com.

Jeff Wysaski, creator of the website, wrote in an e-mail that Pleated-Jeans was designed with one goal in mind: to make people laugh.

In the post titled “What is your state worst at?”, he appointed other states with such titles as “highest bestiality” to Washington, “ugliest residents” to North Dakota and “dumbest state” to Maine.

Wysaski used census information and other websites to research each state, he wrote.

He gave Ohio a title that Lynda Murray, director of government and legal services for Ohio Library Council, said she thinks Ohioans should be proud of.

She said she thought Ohio being named the “nerdiest” state was “fabulous,” and it was nice to be ranked number one.

“The world economy is moving towards an information-based economy,” Murray said. “Libraries are one of the big vehicles that people use to get there, so I think it’s a great spot for libraries to be in.”

Murray said libraries in Ohio are considered the best in the nation because Ohio is one of only two states (the other being Hawaii) that have state funding for its libraries. State funding enables libraries to provide Internet access, supply helpful materials and hire staff members who teach free educational programs. Murray feels Ohio is a well-informed and well-connected state because of it.

Mary Anne Nichols, lecturer for the School of Library and Information Sciences, teaches classes about public libraries, and their services, and marketing. Nichols was saddened by the term “nerdiest” being associated with libraries. She feels the “bookworm” stereotype no longer aligns with what libraries offer.

“Today, libraries are bustling community centers that offer unlimited access to the latest technology,” Nichols wrote in an e-mail. “(And) different forms of materials — books too — and comfortable places to browse and find information.”

Carmen Zampini, director of the

Kent Free Library, said she wasn’t sure why Ohio would win the title of “nerdiest” state.

“I would rank Ohio as having clever citizens who know how to better themselves by taking advantage of what they have at hand,” Zampini said. “Each person finds their own reason to visit the public library to study or to continue lifelong learning.”

Zampini mentioned a few of the most popular reasons so many people use libraries: To check out books, use the Internet and visit the children’s story times.

Patrons also go to libraries to get assistance with investments, help plan for retirement and acquire information for their small businesses’ growth. They can also get assistance with writing resumes and applying for jobs.

While some states have been given negative titles — such as “worst drivers” or “most sickly” — Nichols thinks Ohio should embrace its nerdy status and be proud that its informed citizens have access to some of the best library services.

Contact Amanda Crumm at [email protected].