These standards cover library hours and customer access to library services. If you have questions about any of these standards, please contact your Statewide Consulting Librarian.

Essential Standards

I. Standard A
“Every two years the library gathers feedback on library services from library users and non-users. The library can use a variety of methods, including but not limited to, surveys, focus groups, and community meetings.”

The intent of this standard is for library directors and boards to collect feedback from users and non-users alike in whatever method is appropriate for the library.   MSL encourages directors and others to use the best methods possible for identifying ways to improve library services.  Please contact your Statewide Consulting Librarian if you need assistance with this standard.

II. Standard B
“The library uses comparative statistics, annual surveys, or other methods to evaluate the services offered.” 

The library director and board may wish to review survey results, patron comments, and the Public Library Statistics reports to evaluate library services.

III. Standard C
"The library offers programming for children and adults."

Libraries are often community centers and as such need to offer programs that educate and entertain community members.  Offering programming generally increases the library’s relevance in the community.

IV. Standard D
"The library has policies and/or procedures for services provided."

Policies set the direction for the library, as well as making sure that customers receive fair and equitable service. A well-developed policy gives library staff some guidance on how to act when presented with a problem. Policies attempt to balance patron needs with library resources.

V. Standard E
"The library programming is free and open to all."

It is necessary for the library to offer free programming so that no one is at a disadvantage due to financial constraints.  This highlights the fact that the public library is the one place where everyone is welcome regardless of economic status, place within the community, or ability.

VI. Standard F
"The library must make every effort to maintain confidentiality of library records as addressed in 22-1-1103, MCA."

It is important that library users be assured of their privacy when using the library’s services.  This privacy ensures that users will be able to freely use library material.

VII. Standard G
"Core library services as defined by the local community and library are provided all hours the library is open. Examples include lending circulating materials, reference, and interlibrary loan."

It is important that all core library services are available when the library is open so that library users can take advantage of its services at their convenience.

Source: 10.102.1150M Public Library Services Standards