Texas Public Library Standards
by Dale Fleeger
Chair of the Joint Task Force on
Public Library Standards and Accreditation
As part of the ongoing effort to improve public library service, those charged with developing and offering library access to the public must periodically examine the level of service offered at their respective institutions as well as the collective level of service offered statewide. Such local and global assessment is necessary to equip each library with the means of better evaluating local service, comparing institutional activity against a statewide norms, and advancing local public library support to insure competitiveness with services and resources offered in communities throughout Texas.
In 2003, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Texas Library Association established the Joint Task Force on Public Library Standards and Accreditation. The Task Force was asked to revise current public library standards. Specifically, the Task Force was given four activities:
- review and evaluate recommendations from the Study of Public Library Development in Texas related to minimum requirements for system membership as well as to review and evaluate criteria for state assistance programs in other states;
- evaluate the current Texas Public Library Standards and the Minimum Criteria for System Membership for their timeliness, comprehensiveness, and appropriateness;
- recommend to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Texas Library Association's Executive Board, Council, and Public Libraries Division the relationship that should exist between the standards and the Minimum Criteria for System Membership; and
- recommend future changes, if any, to the Texas Public Library Standards and to the Minimum Criteria for System Membership.
The Task Force met over the last year and conducted numerous public hearings throughout the state and received much feedback on draft standards throughout the development of the final product. At its Annual Assembly Conference in July 2004, the Texas Library Association Council formally endorsed the standards.
The Task Force’s work is an important step in the continued evolution and improvement of public libraries in our state. I wish to thank all of the Task Force members for giving so generously of their time and expertise. I would also like to thank both the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Texas Library Association for initiating and supporting this needed effort.
I would also like to express the Task Force’s collective appreciation to all those individuals who participated in the development of the standards, attended hearings, and shared their viewpoints. Without their input and investment, the revised standards would not represent a community-wide statement of the expectations and needs of Texas public libraries.