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The 2024 Public Library Accreditation process will begin
July 1, 2024

If you have questions please contact Christa Porter


Nebraska Public Library Accreditation

NCompass Live: The 2024 Public Library Accreditation Process - Webinar recording. May 8, 2024, 64 minutes.

'Public Library Accreditation 2024' Workshop - Recording. June 12, 2024, 2 hours 41 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 and the services it offers to its citizens. Accreditation is the standard by which the services are offered, as evidenced by measuring the library 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 Silver or Gold Accreditation status: $200 for Silver accredited libraries and $400 for Gold 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.

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 285 points is available for 2024.

The points required for each level of accreditation are:
  • 250 - Gold Level
  • 200 - Silver Level
  • 175 - Bronze Level
Nebraska Public Library Accreditation Status - list of all Nebraska Public Libraries, with their accreditation standing and the year their accreditation expires. Accreditation is valid through December 31 of the expiration year.

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 and the NLC Supplemental 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, and to maintain a library's Accreditation, the library must:

Community Needs Response Plan

The guidelines are community-based, so that each library determines its own priorities based on community needs. Each library must have or 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. For 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

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

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.

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.
To see if your library meets these peer comparison guidelines, log in to the Accreditation Application and check each guideline.

Libraries will have the opportunity to meet either the average (the mean) of the reported statistic for all Peers, or the median, 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 your library's peer-library data, please contact Sam Shaw. Sam can provide you with the Public Library Survey Data for your peer libraries.

If you have questions about the Accreditation process, please contact Christa Porter.

Related pages:

Accreditation Program History

Public Library Survey

For more information, contact Christa Porter.