Guidelines for Public Library Accreditation
by the Nebraska Library Commission - Help Page

Minimum Qualifications for a Nebraska Public Library

All Nebraska laws referred to in the "12 Minimum Qualifications for a Nebraska Public Library" may be found in the Nebraska Revised Statutes. Below are links to information related to the 12 Qualifications:
1. Legally established. Nebraska Revised Statutes Sections 51-201, 51-201.03, 51-201.04, 51-201.05; 16-251
2. Complies with all federal, state, and local laws affecting library operations
Laws you may especially want to note:
3. Open Meetings Law. Nebraska Revised Statutes Sections 84-1407 through 84-1414, at:
4. Certified Board of Trustees.
5. Certified director.
LSA Population Certification Level of Director
<500 to 2,499I - High School graduate or equivalent
2,500 to 4,999II - 2 Years or more of college
5,000 to 9,999III - College graduate (B.A./B.S.)
10,000+V - MLS
6. No documents.
7. Annual Public Libraries Survey (Bibliostat) and Supplemental Survey (See also) Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 51-407.
8. Minimum wage. Nebraska Revised Statutes Sections 48-1201 through 48-1209.01, available at:
9. No documents.
10.Basic services. Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 51-802, available at:
11.No documents.
12.Annual report to local government. Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 51-213, available at:

Public Library Accreditation Form

Part 1. Governance / Planning
1.02 Reviews the Community Needs Response Plan annually
Print HelpPrint
"Reviews" means that the board has examined the plan, made changes as needed, and reaffirmed the policy by a dated vote of the board.   If the Community Needs Response Plan has been in place for less than 5 years, indicate only those dates on which the plan has been reviewed and revised following the original adoption of a Community Needs Response Plan.
1.03 Policies & Definitions
Print HelpPrint
Information on policy writing in general is available at:
Guidelines for the Development and Implementation of Policies, Regulations and Procedures Affecting Access to Library Materials, Services and Facilities (ALA)
Nelson, Sandra S. Creating policies for results : from chaos to clarity. Chicago: American Library Association, 2003. Available in the NLC collection at: Z678 .N445 2003
Samples of policies:

1.03.01 Advocacy — Action taken in support of libraries, particularly political action to secure adequate funding for libraries.

1.03.03 Collection development — The process of planning and building a useful and balanced collection of library materials, based on ongoing assessment of the information needs of the library's customers. Includes selection criteria, resource sharing, materials replacement, weeding, etc. Often includes or refers to the Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read statements.

1.03.04 Confidentiality of patron records — In the delivery of library services, the right of patrons to have the nature of their research and library transactions remain private. In Nebraska this confidentiality extends even to revealing the identity of a library user unless proper court procedures seeking such information have been followed. See Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 84-712.05 (11). Also see the ALA Code of Ethics.

1.03.05 Customer complaints/feedback — Serves as a basis for written procedures to address complaints of customers whether these relate to book selection, library services, building concerns, etc. (Such procedures should have more than one step so that, for example, a customer might first complain to the library director, then, if appropriate, to the library board when addressing issues.) As with all policies, the policy itself is more general and does not include the specifics spelled out in the procedures.

1.03.06 Emergency, safety, and disaster planning — Policy which serves as the basis for a set of guidelines or steps prepared in advance to help the staff of a library deal with unusual occurrences that may temporarily disrupt normal operations (fires, bomb threats, security violations, etc.).

1.03.07 Exhibits, displays, bulletin boards — Serves as a basis for procedures relating to what is allowed and what is not allowed, to be displayed, exhibited, or posted on library premises. Serves as a basis for procedures relating to who can post, for how long, and where.

1.03.08 Facilities, including meeting rooms — The conditions governing the use of a public meeting room on the premises of the library; serves as a basis for procedures for reserving the room, and any restrictions on use. Such policies often address free speech and separation of church and state issues.

1.03.09 Gifts, memorials, donations — The basis upon which a library decides what gifts, memorials, and donations it will accept from interested donors, and how such gifts may be dealt with. Such a statement often can head off gifts that are not useful to the library which then must be disposed of, sometimes with negative consequences.

1.03.10 Intellectual Freedom — The right under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for any person to read or express views that may be unpopular or offensive to some people, within certain limitations (libel, slander, obscenity, etc.). Additional information from ALA's site may prove useful: 1.03.11 Internet use — Also sometimes called, "acceptable use policy," establishes guidelines concerning the manner in which its computer systems and equipment may be used by patrons and staff, for example, prohibiting the use of the library computers for private commercial or unlawful activities.

1.03.12 Marketing — The basis of a library's plan to undertake a series of actions to successfully interest potential targeted customers in specific library products or services, and to persuade them to use or support these.

1.03.14 Patron behavior — Addresses the speech and actions of library users while they are on library premises. Such a policy takes into account the First Amendment right of free expression, and serves to ensure that users may exercise their constitutionally-protected right to receive information free from harassment, intimidation, and threats to personal safety and well-being in a safe and healthy environment.

1.03.15 Personnel — Covers all library employees and their working conditions. Sometimes this is part of the personnel policy of the governmental unit of which the library is a part. In any case, under Nebraska law, such policy (and its related procedures) must be approved by the governmental unit in order to take effect.

1.03.16 Public services — Activities and operations of a library that bring the staff into regular direct contact with its users, including circulation, reference, online services, bibliographic instruction, interlibrary loan, etc.

1.03.17 Staff professional development — Often referred to as continuing education. Further study by a library staff member of work-related subjects, undertaken during employment. Sometimes initiated by the employer, but also through voluntary attendance at conferences, workshops, seminars, etc.

1.03.18 Weeding — The process of examining items in a library title-by-title to identify for permanent withdrawal those that meet pre-established criteria especially when shelf space is limited or circulation is low. May be part of the larger Collection Development policy, if weeding is specifically detailed in that policy.

Note: Some of the above definitions are from the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science by Joan M. Reitz, found at the website ABC-CLIO and used with permission from the author. You may be able to find in that resource useful definitions for any additional policies the library has that are not included in those above.
1.04 Technology Plan
Print HelpPrint
May be part of the Community Needs Response Plan but must be labeled as "Technology Plan" within that document.
For Technology Planning assistance, see:
Has reviewed the Technology Plan annually
Print HelpPrint
"Reviewed" means that the board has examined the plan, made changes as needed, and reaffirmed the policy by a dated vote of the board.   If the Technology Plan has been in place for less than 5 years, indicate only those dates on which the plan has been reviewed & revised following the original adoption of a Technology Plan.
Print HelpPrint
1.05 & 1.06 Library Friends & Foundation
Fact sheet #16 for Friends and Foundations (United for Libraries).
Fact Sheet #26: Sample Memorandum of Understanding Between Friends and Libraries (ALA)
Part 2. Resources
2.01 Local Income
This will be pre-populated using figures reported by you and peer libraries. (See the introduction to the guidelines.)
2.02 Facilities
2.02.03 Federal, state and local codes for safety and access
Print HelpPrint
2.05 Collection
2.05.02 Weeding
Print HelpPrint
The special collection referred to here might be a genealogy collection, or a collection of local interest, which probably will rarely if ever be weeded. Therefore, such collections should not be considered when calculating how much of the collection was weeded. Statistics on weeding are reported by the library in the section of the Public Libraries Survey called "Library Collections."
2.05.03 Use of Internet Resources

This guideline is describing the regular use of Websites to provide information in answer to questions from library users. These would include sites found through search engines, or sites that have been recommended by experts. Examples of such sites include WebMD, Copyright and Fair Use or Merriam-Webster Online. Examples of Internet-based resources may be found in Websites Selected by Librarians through NebraskAccess at

Databases such as those available through NebraskAccess and others are treated under Guideline 3.05 and 3.05.01.

Online services such as Overdrive are treated under Guideline 4.06.

2.05.06 Turnover Rate
Print HelpPrint
The average number of times each item in the collection is circulated. It is calculated by dividing circulation by the number of books in the collection.
Part 3. Services
3.05 and 3.05.01 Licensed databases through the Nebraska Library Commission at:
Print HelpPrint

A "database" is a collection of information that is organized so that it can easily be accessed, managed, and updated. By definition it does not include electronic collections of book titles or musical selections (such as Freegal), but it does include databases such as, the Chilton guides, etc.

"Access" includes providing the library password to library users. This may be accomplished with a sign posted in the library and a link on the library Website.
Part 4. Cooperation/Collaboration
Print HelpPrint
4.02 Up to 4 points may be earned, if at least four different community groups or organizations have a participant who is a library staff member. (While library board members are encouraged to belong to such groups, their membership does not fulfill the purpose of this guideline.) Community organizations and groups include business groups, service organizations, such as Rotary, and Kiwanis. This guideline specifically does not include churches and church-related groups, hobbyist groups, and/or book clubs.

Print HelpPrint
4.04 Here list public agencies and other entities, such as the parks and recreation department, civic groups, such as the Lions Club, or businesses, such as a bank, with which the library shares the providing of services. Groups which collaborate with the library or are identified as co-sponsors of programs for community members should also be listed.

Do not list entities, such as day care centers which use the services of the library, but do not share providing those services. Also do not list entities which donate materials or services to the library but which do not collaborate in the direct provision of library services to community members.
4.05 Participation involves actively performing some task which directly contributes to advocacy, such as writing letters, speaking to a meeting, contacting representatives. Attending meetings at which the concepts of advocacy are discussed, but during which no actual actions that advocate are performed, do not count.
Print HelpPrint
4.06 Activities that result from an agreement, formal or informal, among a group of libraries (usually a consortium or network) to share collections, data, facilities, personnel, circulation systems, etc. for the benefit of their users and to reduce expenses.
Part 5. Communications
No documents.

Once you submit your Application For Public Library Accreditation you are given the chance to View and Print Your Submitted Application. You are also given the option to Revise your application up until the deadline.