The State Library of Kansas and the regional library systems have been planning a Kansas Public Library Accreditation Project for some time. The State Library staff put together an Accreditation Task Force that is composed of library directors and system personnel from each area of the state.
The charge to the Task Force is: To develop a Public Library Accreditation Program that encourages the ongoing development of quality library service by creating tools for measuring customer-based library excellence. The State Library will use the accreditation guidelines to officially recognize Kansas libraries that offer excellent service.
On Wednesday, February 18, the Task Force met at the Maner Conference Center and made very good progress in shaping the program. State Librarian Christie Brandau hosted the meeting and Dr. Robert Grover did an excellent job of facilitating it. The task force selected categories and self-selected for subcommittees to develop measures for each category.
The accreditation measures will look very different from the Kansas standards that have been repeatedly revised since 1988. Libraries will not be categorized by the size of their service population. The standards will be designed from the point of view of the library user and in the voice of the library user. Instead of specifying a number of parking spaces that a public library will have, the standards will confirm that “I can find a parking space when I visit my library.” The ultimate goal of the project is to have user-focused public library standards for Kansas. These will be used to recognize excellence in Kansas public libraries.
The subcommittees will work on the standards in each category in March and April. The Kansas library community will respond to a draft of the program in early summer. Public libraries will be able to review the standards and apply for accreditation in early 2009.
The Task Force members are Fred Atchison, North Central System; Mickey Coalwell, Northeast System; Denise de Rochefort-Reynolds, Concordia; Sharon DuBois, Quinter; Jamie Kelley, Marysville; Royce Kitts, Tonganoxie; Laura Loveless, KCK; Ann O’Neill, SLIM; Chris Rippel, Central System; Cathy Reeves, Dodge City; George Seamon, Northwest System; Emily Sitz, Southwest System; Tom Taylor, South Central System; and Carol Wohlford, Andover.
If you have questions about this exciting new project, please call Shannon Roy at 785-296-2148.