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About the Standards

The standards serve as an important tool in measuring a library’s success in fulfilling its stated mission and role in the community. This document is intended to spark debate, discussion, evaluation, planning, and action in all public libraries. The following principles guided the development:

  • Consider the public library’s role in sustaining a civilized society.
  • Value the public library’s role as a community learning institution.
  • Understand the public library’s role as a reflection of cultural heritage.
  • Recognize the diversity and uniqueness of libraries across the state.
  • Understand the needs of the communities that libraries serve.
  • Value intellectual freedom and access for all to information.
  • Acknowledge the skills, talents, and contributions of library staff.



The goals of the standards are to:

  • Promote quality library service to all Coloradans.
  • Inform community users about what they can expect from their library.
  • Assist library staff in connecting with the communities they serve.
  • Provide an authoritative document to which library administrators and supporters may refer when justifying requests for funds.
  • Assist library leaders in planning, administration, and professional development.

The Colorado public library standards serve as models for services, resources, and information that are available in libraries across the state. They are not meant to stand by themselves; rather, they are intended to enhance local planning efforts crafted to identify service goals that will allow the library to respond to the unique interests and opportunities in its community while achieving a consistent standard of library offerings across the state.

The Standards and Colorado Library Law

Public libraries are established and maintained according to the provisions of the Colorado Library Law (§24-90-101 et seq) which provides a basic definition of a public library. This definition is used to determine eligibility for state funding for library materials, or when libraries receive funding or other services from the State Library. It is also used to determine which libraries are required to provide statistical data in compliance with state and federal requirements.