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Community Needs Response Planning for Public Library Accreditation

NCompass Live: The 2024 Public Library Accreditation Process - Webinar recording. May 8, 2024.

'Public Library Accreditation 2024' Workshop - Recording. June 12, 2024, 2 hours 41 minutes.

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 have an up-to-date Community Needs Response Plan (previously called the Strategic Plan) that addresses how the library will serve those needs.

Plans should be emailed to Christa Porter.

The Community Needs Response 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 the library's strengths and resources; and an analysis of barriers and opportunities for improvement.
  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.

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

Examples: Note: The following examples are pre-2022. The required content of the Plans was updated in 2022.

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

The Mission Statement

Worksheet 2: Community Profile


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

American Community Survey Data Tables & Tools

United States Census Data

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 of Your Library

 Take stock 

Worksheet 5: Develop Goals & Objectives

Set Priorities

How to Write SMART Goals

Worksheet 6: Evaluation


Community Needs Response Plan Summary


If you have questions about the Accreditation process or Community Needs Response Planning, please contact Christa Porter.

Related pages:

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.