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Community Needs Response Planning for Public Library Accreditation

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
the Public Library Accreditation program has been suspended for 2020 and 2021.
We plan to resume the program in 2022.
All Accreditation expiration dates have been extended by 2 years.

The Nebraska Public Library Accreditation Guidelines are based on the principle that a good library is a library that is serving the unique needs of its own community. Therefore, the Accreditation Guidelines require that each library applying for accreditation submit a Community Needs Response Plan (previously called the Strategic Plan) that addresses how the library will serve those needs.

The Community Needs Response Plan (previously called the Strategic Plan) must be up-to-date and include the following 7 elements:

  1. The library's mission statement.
  2. A community profile.
  3. An assessment of community needs. (A library's first responsibility is to address the needs of its community.)
  4. An analysis of library strengths and weaknesses; and, an analysis of opportunities and threats outside the library.
  5. An analysis of what all this means and where the library can contribute to community progress, based on the previous 3 steps.
  6. Specific goals with measurable objectives or action plans that provide details including timelines, assignment of responsibility, etc.
  7. A plan for evaluation of accomplishment, and a summary of evaluation of previous accomplishments.

Public Library Accreditation and Community Needs Workshop - Recorded online session - 2 hours - 5/30/2019
    Workshop Materials

Accessing Census Data - Recorded online session and presentation slides - July 21, 2021 - 1 hour 25 mintues

Community Engagement: Straight Talk - Recorded online session and presentation slides - 1 hour

Easier Than It Looks: A Simple Approach to Strategic Planning - Recorded online session and presentation slides - 1 hour

Rising to the Challenge: Using the Aspen Institute Report and Action Guide for Strategic Planning - Recorded online session and presentation slides - 1 hour


Templates and Guides:

Libraries which do not have a plan in place may use the following guide to create a Community Needs Response Plan.

Community Needs Response Planning Process in 12 Steps

Fill out the 6 worksheets listed below, and then condense the results onto the final Community Needs Response Plan Summary worksheet.  The how-to guides are meant to provide assistance. Please use them as needed.

6 Worksheets to fill out:

How-To Guides

Worksheet 1: Plan to Plan

Why Plan?

The Planning Team

Project Management

Worksheet 2: Community Profile


STATEWIDE FIGURES --  useful to compare with your community‚Äôs figures

American Community Survey Data Tables & Tools

Worksheet 3: Community Needs

Assess Community Needs

Running a Focus Group

Sample Community Questions

Key Informant Interviews Example -- "Bookville" Public Library

Worksheet 4: Take Stock - SWOT

 Take stock

 The Mission Statement

Worksheet 5: Develop Goals & Objectives

Set Priorities

How to Write SMART Goals

Worksheet 6: Evaluation


Community Needs Response Plan Summary


Please contact Christa Porter with questions about Accreditation via email or at 402.471.3107.

Related pages:

About Accreditation

Public Library Accreditation FAQs

12 Minimum Qualifications

Accreditation Program History

Sample Accreditation Application

Nebraska Public Library Accreditation Status - list of all Nebraska Public Libraries, with their accreditation standing & next accreditation year

Public Library Survey

For more information, contact Christa Porter.