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Nebraska Library Board Manual

 CHAPTER CONTENTS What is Accreditation? Accreditation Process Why Should a Library Be Accredited? Accreditation Requirements How Guidelines Were Developed


   What is Accreditation?

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. Accreditation guidelines for service were developed for Nebraska public libraries in order to assist and support improvements in Nebraska public library services. The anticipated outcome is that Nebraska citizens will have access to accurate, quality library and information services from public libraries that meet statewide guidelines.

   How Does a Library Become Accredited?

In July of each year, information on accreditation is sent to unaccredited libraries and to libraries scheduled to renew accreditation that year. Libraries that meet the accreditation requirements will receive a Certificate of Accreditation good for a three-year period.

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   Why Should A Library Be Accredited?

Library accreditation is a measure of the quality of services the library offers to the community. It is a point of pride when a community has attained accreditation of its public library. Accreditation is one of the eligibility requirements to receive state aid to public libraries. It is also a prerequisite for all grant programs available through the Nebraska Library Commission, as well as a requirement to apply for other funding such as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) or United States Department of Agricultural (USDA) grants and loans.


   What Are the Requirements For Accreditation?

The requirements adopted in 2013 have three levels of accreditation--Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level is attained through the accumulation of points on the accreditation application: 175 points earns accreditation at the Bronze level; 200 points the Silver level; and 250 points the Gold level. There are approximately 275 points possible to earn. The topics covered include the following:
  • Governance/Planning - minimum requirements for each library; a strategic plan approved by the Commission; library policies
  • Resources - local income; open hours; staff size; expenditures on staff; technology; collection requirements
  • Services - interlibrary loan; program attendance; database access
  • Cooperation/Collaboration - community involvement; professional activity; consortia
  • Communications - active engagement via new technologies; exhibits; regular reporting
The new guidelines offer comparisons with peer libraries that serve a range of populations from 15% above through 15% below each library. The accreditation process requires an approved strategic plan. The accreditation application asks that sections of that plan be cited for pertinent guidelines.


   How Were the Guidelines Developed?

Beginning in 2009 the public library accreditation guidelines were reviewed for possible modification. That same year the Accreditation Review Committee was formed and given the charge of redesigning the guidelines to make them more responsive to individual communities' needs. The redesigned guidelines use comparisons with peer (i.e., similarly-sized) libraries, and strategic planning by the libraries. Members of that committee were: Stan Schulz (chairperson), Joan Birnie (vice-chairperson), Francine Canfield, Kendra Caskey, Robin Clark, Brenda Ealey, Amy Greenland, Pat Leach, John Felton, Laura Johnson, Richard Miller, and Rod Wagner. The new accreditation guidelines were approved at the May 2013 Commission meeting.

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created 2006; rev. 7/2015                                                        For more information, contact Holli Duggan

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