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The 2023 Public Library Accreditation process will begin
July 1, 2023

If you have questions please contact Christa Porter


Nebraska Public Library Accreditation

After a two year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Public Library Accreditation is back! And a few changes have been made to the program to make it easier for libraries to navigate the process.

To learn about what's new for the 2022 Nebraska Public Library Accreditation program, view the recording of the Public Library Accreditation 2022 Workshop (2 hours, 43 minutes).  

The purpose of public library accreditation is to encourage excellent library service in Nebraska communities. It is a measure of community pride in the library services it offers to its citizens. Accreditation is the standard by which the services are offered, as evidenced by measuring itself against guidelines developed by a task force of professional librarians. It’s something to be proud of and to celebrate with your community.


  • 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 is valid for five years.


An accredited library is:
  • Eligible for State Aid to public libraries - which can include an incentive payment to acknowledge the achievement of reaching Gold or Silver Accreditation status: $400 for Gold accredited libraries and $200 for Silver accredited libraries.
  • Eligible to apply for grants through the Nebraska Library Commission, which include Continuing Education & Training Grants, Internship Grants, Library Improvement Grants, and Youth Grants for Excellence.
  • Eligible to apply for Community Development Block Grants from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development – for community facilities.
  • Eligible to apply for USDA Grants and Loans – for community facilities.

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 previously been 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. Note: This is not the interactive form that you will submit - it is a static version of the live Accreditation Application. It is just an example for your reference.

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.

Peers are considered as libraries within 15% plus or minus of the Legal Service Population of the target library. 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.

To find the list of the peer libraries that your library is compared to, log in to the Accreditation Application with your Bibliostat username and password. There is a link to Peer Libraries in the instructions box at the top of the application.

If you have questions about your library's peer-library data, please contact Sam Shaw. Sam can provide you with the list of your peer libraires with their Public Library Survey Data.

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.
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.) This is a fairer, more realistic way to measure than to require each library to meet a goal set for an arbitrary size range. In a peer comparison, the subject library is always in the middle of the size range, and is asked to meet a performance measure that is determined by how well peers, which are subject to most of the same economic, environmental, and social factors as the subject library, performed.

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

12 Minimum Qualifications

Preview Accreditation Application

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

Accreditation Program History

Public Library Survey

For more information, contact Christa Porter.