The five-star rating follows a string of negative events that have dogged the city's award-winning library and prompted an upcoming audit of policies and procedures.
In October, the board accepted the resignation of controversial Director Beth Elder after her tumultuous 3½-year tenure, which saw a management shake-up and staff mutiny. The board named Salt Lake County executive Linda Hamilton as its transitional director while a committee conducts a national search for a new full-time director.
Other libraries in Utah also received some form of star designation by the Journal, a leading publication in the library industry. They include Milford Library (four star), Mount Pleasant Library (four star), Grand County Library (three star) and Lewiston Library (three star).
State librarian Donna Jones Morris notes 18.5 million people visited Utah public libraries last year.
"The fact that Utah has five public libraries among the top 262 ranked with five, four or three stars," she said in a statement, "is a credit to the quality of service Utah public libraries provide."