The 2013 public library accreditation process is underway, and a number of libraries have already begun to fill out the new application form — or at least have taken it out for a “test drive.” You may want to take a look at the application also (although it is interactive only for those 50 libraries due for reaccreditation in 2013, and for 40 additional unaccredited libraries that submitted their annual statistics for 2011 — 2012). To see what the application looks like go here.
Here are some of the changes in the new guidelines:
- Some guidelines are “pre-filled” with statistics your library submitted on the annual report.
- It is now possible to work on submitting the guidelines, then save them to return later to complete the process (any number of times up until the October 1st deadline).
- The library must have an up-to-date strategic plan in order to apply for accreditation (and incidentally, in order to successfully complete the accreditation application).
- There are 12 minimum qualifications a library must meet before it can begin to fill out the accreditation application. Among others these include: the legal establishment of the library; a governing or advisory library board; a certified board; a certified librarian; and an actively used e-mail address by the director.
- The three levels of accreditation attainment are bronze, silver and gold.
- There is a total of 275 points possible to accumulate — bronze (175 points); silver (200 points); and gold (250 points).
- Libraries are compared with their “peer libraries” that serve populations within 15% of their service populations, for a fairer comparison with like libraries.
The development, or updating, of a strategic plan for the library is also an essential part of the accreditation process. Such a plan helps to ensure that the services the library offers are wanted and needed by its community. How long has it been since you determined the needs of your community? This planning process enables you to do that and helps to ensure that you enjoy continued support from your community. For more information on strategic planning, go to “About the Strategic Plan” here.
For any questions about the public library accreditation process, contact Richard Miller via e-mail, or call 800-307-2665, or 402-471-3175.