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Nebraska 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 purpose of public library accreditation is to encourage excellent library service in Nebraska communities. Library Accreditation is valid for three years.


  • establishes minimum standards for library service
  • ensures that libraries adhere to certain standards
  • offers libraries benchmarks
  • offers libraries evidence that certain expenditures, services, and practices are needed and expected
Public Library Accreditation and Community Needs Workshop Recorded online session - 2 hours - 5/30/2019
    Workshop Materials
NCompass Live: The 2019 Public Library Accreditation Process Recorded online session - 1 hour - 6/26/2019


The Accreditation process begins in July each year. Invitations to apply are sent to public libraries up for reaccreditation and to libraries that have not been previously accredited, but have submitted the Public Library Survey for the preceding year. Completed Accreditation Applications and up-to-date Community Needs Response Plans are due October 1. The Applications and Plans will be evaluated and libraries will be informed of their new Accreditation Level by December 31.


In order to apply, the library must:

Levels of Accreditation

Accreditation and levels of accreditation are based on a system of accrued points. For each guideline on the Accreditation Application, a library may earn a number of points. A total of 275 points is available.

The points required for each level of accreditation are:
  • 250 - Gold Level
  • 200 - Silver Level
  • 175 - Bronze Level

Community Needs Response Plan

The guidelines are community-based, so that each library determines its own priorities based on community needs. This requires each library to have or to create a Community Needs Response Plan that addresses the unique needs of its community.

See Community Needs Response Planning for Public Library Accreditation for further information and help with Community Needs Response Plans.

Application Form

The Accreditation Application is organized into five categories:

  • Governance/Planning
  • Resources
  • Services
  • Cooperation/Collaboration
  • Communications

Statistics that have been reported by the library in the Public Library Survey will automatically be filled in on the online Accreditation Application form, so the library will not have to re-report statistical measures. Because of this, each applying library must log in with a user name and password. For the sake of convenience, the same Bibliostat Collect username and password is used for both the annual Public Library Survey and for the Accreditation Application Form.

See the Preview Application here.

Use the live Accreditation Application when you have been invited to apply.

You can complete the application in more than one session by clicking the "Save and Resume Later" button at the bottom of the form.

Peer Comparisons

Instead of standards defined for arbitrary library size categories, nine of the guidelines use Peer Comparisons. Each library will be compared with libraries of similar size rather than being slotted into a predetermined population group as in past guidelines.

The nine guidelines that use Peer Comparisons are:

  • 2.01 - local income,
  • 2.02.01 - open hours,
  • 2.03.01 - staff expenditures,
  • 2.03.04 - staff FTE,
  • 2.05.04 - materials expenditure,
  • 2.05.05 - circulation,
  • 2.05.06 - collection turnover,
  • 2.05.07 - collection size, items per capita, and
  • 3.04 - attendance per capita.
Peers are considered as libraries within 15% plus or minus of the Legal Service Population of the target library. Libraries will have the opportunity to meet either the average (mean) of the reported statistic for all Peers, or the median (i.e., the value lying at the midpoint when the statistics from peer libraries are arrayed in size order.) In cases in which there is not a sufficient number of libraries larger and smaller than the applying library, the sample may be expanded to other states to ensure statistical reliability.

If you have questions about peer-library data, please contact Sam Shaw.

If you have questions about the Accreditation process, please contact Christa Porter via email or at 402-471-3107.


Related pages:

Community Needs Response Planning for Public Library Accreditation

Public Library Accreditation FAQs

12 Minimum Qualifications

Accreditation Program History

Preview 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.