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How to Use the Standards

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What are Standards?

The standards represent a snapshot in time. Library planning and operations are inherently fluid in responding to what is sometimes a rapidly changing social, fiscal, and technological environment.

These standards can inform but do not replace a library’s strategic plan. While the standards attempt to identify current key issues, services, and best practices in Colorado public librarianship, they are not intended to be a detailed road map to each library’s future.

How to Use the Standards

As an aid in planning, the checklists provide the means by which library stakeholders can discuss and determine how a library addresses or should address each standard category.

These checklists are not intended to be a one-size-fits-all set of elements that all libraries must meet. Some libraries now plan and carry out activities that exceed many or all of those listed, while others may be constrained by resources or circumstances in ways that make achieving many of the basic ones difficult. Every community is different. What is important is that the director, staff, board, and community constantly review where you are, where you want to be, and what it will take to get there. These checklists are intended to provide guidance for that journey.

Supplemental information, like associated webinars and videos, offer resources for addressing some sections. When pertinent, tables are embedded with state and national statistical data. Local libraries will need to decide how best to meet or exceed them for the benefit of their communities. The State Library offers consulting support and resources for meeting standards.

This resource is intended for use by librarians, boards, staff, governing officials, members of funding agencies, and community support groups involved in planning at the local level, and within the context of regional and state library services. For example, library directors may choose to review each standard by bringing them one by one to their board meetings throughout the year. Staff, community members, and other stakeholders are encouraged to attend these discussions about how the standards apply to their library.

Action Items and Next Steps

Ultimately, how library stakeholders view and adopt these standards will determine the actionable next steps important to planning and growing a library’s services and ideas on which to act. For instance, a list of small administrative to-dos, key policies, adjustments, or the need for a more thorough review of existing practices, etc. might turn up. A few major initiatives may float to the top of the planning priority list, such as outcomes that are more specific and metrics to measure progress. Examples may include the creation of a comprehensive risk management strategy that identifies a host of business assets and procedures for assuring their survival.