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Helpful Information for Meeting Minimum Public Library Standards

Provides access to current library information

Each library. . . provides access to current library information in print and online, facilitating the understanding of library services, operations and governance; information provided online shall include the standards referenced in paragraphs one through five of this subdivision (standards 1 through 5).

Why Have Printed and Online Information About the Library?

Providing printed and online information that describes the library and explains the services offered in an attractively produced format such as a brochure or bookmark is an essential element of a good public relations program. Printed and online information also provides the community with transparency and accountability about library operations and services.  It is important that the library’s website and social media venues have up to date information about the library to keep online library users informed and attract future library users.

What Types of Information Should Be Included?

The library's printed and online information should include, at a minimum, the following elements:

  • library name
  • library street address
  • library website address
  • Board meeting dates and times
  • Agenda for regular board meetings posted at least a week ahead of the meeting time
  • Agenda or topic for special meetings posted at least 72 hours in advance
  • Draft Board meeting minutes within two weeks of meeting
  • library telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address
  • listing of the days and the hours when the library is open to the public
  • a brief description of the library (e.g., roles, mission)
  • listing of the services offered to the public and who is eligible to use them (e.g., interlibrary loan, reserves, extended vacation loans, community rooms, photocopying, story hours and other programs, public access computers)
  • explanation of the library's borrowing rules:
    • who is eligible for a library card
    • length of loan for library materials
    • policies on overdue items, fines, and fees

In addition to printed information, the library should also have a scheduled program of announcements for social media venues, newspaper, television, and radio and utilize public service announcements. Build the image of the library as a proactive and vital community service by keeping the community informed of ongoing programs and services.

Helpful Tip: Have a social media policy. It will help avoid confusion among library employees on the image the library wants to portray online.

What Formats and Means of Distribution Are Acceptable?

A library should have an active, ongoing planned and coordinated approach to public relations if it is going to fulfill its mission. An attractively produced brochure or bookmark is a basic element of such a program. This brochure or bookmark should be updated regularly and available for distribution in the library. Library staff should ensure that each new borrower receives a copy. Copies may also be placed in public places in the community.

Public information materials do not need to be expensive or elaborate. Concise, clear information about the library is most likely to be useful. An appealing, neat format is easier to understand. A positive and friendly tone (rather than a listing of what is not allowed, for example) creates an impression that the library is service-oriented. Printed and other information should create an image of the library as a community institution that welcomes and encourages community residents to make full use of library facilities, materials, and services.

Library staff, board members and members of the Friends' group may use the library's printed information when telling community groups and government officials about the library and its services. Some library staff work closely with local community groups and/or realtor associations to distribute information about the library as new families are welcomed to the community. Residents are voters and taxpayers and deserve to be informed about this valuable tax-supported service. Library website, blogs or social media venues can help increase library use by reaching current or new community members.

To meet this standard, a library must also post the following board-approved information online:

  • ByLaws (see Standard 1)
  • Long-Range Plan (see Standard 2)
  • Annual Report to the Community (see Standard 3)
  • Policies (see Standard 4)
  • Budget (see Standard 5)

Where Can the Library Go for Help?

Consult the library system for any assistance that may be needed.