Addendum 5. Planning for Library Excellence Goals/Guidelines for Virginia Public Libraries. 1988
- Library buildings shall provide handicapped access in compliance with state and federal codes and all legal requirements.
- The outside of the library shall be well lighted and identified with appropriate and highly visible signs. There shall be signs that include hours of service.
Adequate, convenient, and well-lighted parking shall be
available to the library's users and staff at or near the
library site. The following formula should be used:
- At branches and main libraries, there shall be 1.5 square feet of parking space designated exclusively for library use for each square foot of floor space.
- There shall be one space for handicapped parking for every twenty-five (25) parking spaces (or part thereof).
Adequate library buildings in suitable locations to serve the
library's population will be provided.
Libraries in rural settings or when serving a population
density of 1,000 per square mile or less:
Level I Library facilities should be located within a 30-minute drive from the homes of all residents. Level II Library facilities should be located within a 25-minute drive from the homes of all residents. Level III A library will be provided for every 10,000 to 15,000 people depending upon density of population or within a 15-minute drive from the homes of all residents.
In an urban setting or when serving population densities of
more than 1,000 per square mile:
Level I Library facilities should be located within a 15-minute drive from the homes of all residents. Level II Library facilities should be located within a ten-minute drive from the homes of all residents. Level III Library facilities will be provided for every 20,000 inhabitants or within a five-minute drive from homes of all residents.
The selection of sites for library facilities should take into consideration geographical obstacles to transportation. All buildings should be on or near heavily traveled roads, or in or near shopping areas and have a library designation clearly visible to traffic.
- Libraries in rural settings or when serving a population density of 1,000 per square mile or less:
The following guidelines may be used in determining space
- Aggregate size of all buildings in the system should equal .6 square feet per person living in the jurisdiction serviced.
- Any main or central library in a system should comprise half the square footage computed in Item a. above. No main library should be less than 10,000 square feet.
- Each full-service branch should be at least 4,500 square feet, or larger when necessary, to meet the requirement of square feet per capita in the service area.
- Adequate space should be provided for planning activities (e.g., children's story hours).
The following guidelines may help to determine appropriate
furnishings and equipment:
- There should be three seats (including study carrels and lounge furniture) for public use for every 1,000 persons in the service area. A mixture of group, individual, and lounge seating should be provided.
- Furniture should be of a type and size to meet the needs of library user groups (children, seniors, handicapped citizens, etc.)
- An adequate number of microform readers, reader-printers, photocopy machines, and other needed equipment should be provided and kept in good working condition.
- Provision should be made for the return of library materials when the library is closed.
- In planning the designated children's area in a library facility, consideration should be given to eliminating architectural barriers while creating a warm, pleasant, friendly and inviting environment.
- In planning a library facility, a library should consider those areas that may constitute architectural barriers to library use for handicapped citizens.
- A library's policy manual shall include a collection development policy, including specific treatment of children's and young adult materials. This statement shall be reviewed annually and revised periodically in order to meet the mission, goals, and objectives of the library.
- A library shall adopt and adhere to the principles as set forth in the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and other intellectual freedom statements and interpretations.
A library shall place a high budgetary priority on materials.
To define this priority, a library shall meet, or exceed, the
following formulas for size of materials collections:
Total books per capita:
Level I 2.00 Level II 3.00 Level III 4.00
Total periodical and newspaper subscriptions per 1,000
Under 5,000 pop. 50,000 - 100,000 pop. Level I 4.1 3.3 Level II 6.6 3.9 Level III 8.6 5.3
100,000 - 150,000 pop. Over 150,000 pop. Level I 2.9 2.5 Level II 3.8 3.4 Level III 4.4 4.0
In order to maintain the collection after Goals 3a. and 3b.
have been reached, the total volumes added per capita per
annum shall be:
Level I .15 per capita Level II .20 per capita Level III .30 per capita
- Total books per capita:
- A library shall utilize accepted professional techniques for regular, systematic collection control and evaluation.
- A library shall make available adequate provision for access to the equipment and/or hardware necessary to utilize all formats of library materials.
Libraries shall determine the percentage of time users find
specific titles available in the library when they look for
Level I 50 percent Level II 60 percent Level III 70 1 percent
1 Due to small sample available in Virginia, figures derived from Maryland Public Library statistics for 1982-83.
Libraries shall determine the percentage of time users find
material on a specific subject or by a specific author
available in the library when they look for it.
Level I 60 percent Level II 70 percent Level III 80 1 percent
Libraries shall determine the annual circulation per capita as
one measure of the relevance of the collection to user needs.
Level I 3.00 per capita Level II 7.00 per capita Level III 9.00 per capita
- Professional techniques for collection analysis, control, and evaluation may include weeding, inventory, input and output measures, user surveys, questionnaires, or other instruments when administered inside and outside the library to measure community needs.
There shall be an adequate number of library staff (excluding
custodial) to meet the needs of the population in the service
Public Service Staff (for headquarters, branches and
Full-time Equivalent (FTE)
Staff Required for
Staff Member for Each
Service Area (SA)
Than the Lending Desk
40 1 FTE + 1 FTE x No. SA + 48 2 FTE + 2 FTE x No. SA + 60+ 2½ FTE + 2½ FTE x No. SA +
One Additional FTE Staff
Member for Every 20,000
Circulations Above Basic
Staff from I and II
Bookmobiles: One FTE
Staff Member and Driver
for each Eight-Hour Shift
Technical Services Staff:
One person (FTE) for every 1,000 volumes processed or part thereof. (If cataloging processes are automated or materials are preprocessed and received ready for public use, the number may be reduced accordingly).
Include such positions as director, assistant director, secretary, personnel manager, bookkeeper, public relations officer, and other personnel designated as administrative by the individual library. (Do not include branch librarians or department heads if they are counted as Public Service or Technical Services personnel).
When the total number of reference questions, using the definition of the National Center for Education Statistics in the Glossary, exceeds 2,000 units per month, additional reference staff personnel shall be added. One reference question is counted as five (5) units; one directional question is counted as one (1) unit.
NOTE: Adequate staffing consists of the sum of a, b, c, and d.
- Public Service Staff (for headquarters, branches and extension services):
The formula for adequate staffing shall include an appropriate
number of professional staff to provide adequate service and
execute effective programs.
Level I 15 percent of the total staff (FTE) are professional librarians Level II 25 percent of the total staff (FTE) are professional librarians Level III 35 percent of the total staff (FTE) are professional librarians
- If special audiences are defined, appropriate staff must be provided.
Every library system with three FTE by the above formulas shall
have a person in charge of children's services who is
knowledgeable about the library service needs of this group. If
the children's collection is housed on a separate floor or in a
separate building, additional staff over these levels may be
Level I One FTE staff member is primarily responsible for the coordination and implementation of a full range of children's services for a library system. Level II One FTE professional librarian is responsible for the coordination and implementation of children's services for a library system. Level III One FTE professional librarian is responsible for coordinating the efforts of one or more FTE staff in each facility in the system, who are responsible for the implementation of a full range of children's services within that facility.
Every library serving a population of more than 1,000 young
adults, 14 to 17 years old (as identified in the latest U.S.
Census), shall have a person in charge of young adult services
who is knowledgeable about the library service needs of this
Level I One FTE staff member is primarily responsible for providing young adult services for a library system. Level II One FTE staff member is responsible for providing a full range of young adult services for a library system. Level III One FTE professional librarian is responsible for coordinating and implementing young adult services for a library system.
- Appropriate support staff shall be provided.
- Appropriate custodial staff shall be provided.
- There shall be an adequate number of library staff (excluding custodial) to meet the needs of the population in the service area.
- A library policy manual shall include a staff development policy and plan that shall be reviewed annually and revised periodically to provide for maximum effectiveness.
- A library shall provide a program of routine orientation and specialized in-service training for its staff.
Library staff shall be provided the opportunity to participate
in appropriate programs offered by local, regional, state and
national organizations and agencies that are relevant to their
level and positions.
Level I Libraries encourage and provide administrative leave for all staff to participate in appropriate continuing education activities. Level II Libraries provide administrative leave and pay partial expenses for staff to participate in continuing education activities. Level III Libraries encourage staff and provide administrative leave and full funding for staff to attend appropriate continuing education activities.
- A library with a volunteer program shall have a written plan for the recruitment and assignment of volunteers.
- There shall be written job descriptions and requirements for volunteers that shall be distributed to volunteers and staff.
- A member of the paid staff shall serve as volunteer coordinator to organize, direct, implement, and evaluate the volunteer program.
- Volunteers shall be evaluated and their efforts acknowledged.
The library shall include, in its overall plan, a plan for
Level I Holdings are retrospectively converted to, and maintained in machine readable form, in MARC format, and entered in the state database. Level II A system-wide operational automated circulation and cataloging system is in place capable of search by author, title, and subject, showing holdings and their status. Level III Level I and II plus a fully operational public access catalog, and other components as may be appropriate. These systems should be available for online search by other library systems through telecommunication or through a Virginia Library Network.
- Libraries with automated systems shall provide their bibliographic records in full MARC format to the state database.
- The library shall include, in its overall plan, a plan for automation.
Access to Service
- A library's policy manual shall define policies that ensure all constituents equal access to the library and its services. This policy shall be reviewed annually and revised periodically in order to meet the mission, goals, and objectives of the library.
- Hours of operation shall be user-oriented and support convenient access. During the open hours, all services shall be available to all users, regardless of age.
- A library shall have telephones with listed telephone numbers.
- Convenient and effective user access to materials and information shall be provided through the logical arrangement of materials and the efficient management of bibliographic databases or card catalogs that have sufficient access points to satisfy the needs of both users and staff. Materials shall not be sequestered except for the purpose of protection from theft and damage.
- Library orientation and instruction shall be provided to groups and individuals.
- There shall be no fee for access to library services. However, a charge imposed on a library system by an outside source for the temporary use of materials or services, as in a database search, may be passed on directly to the user. The library may not charge for staff costs involved in the preparation or provision of the services.
- A library's policy manual shall include a written reference services policy. This statement shall be reviewed annually and revised periodically in order to meet the mission, goals, and objectives of the library.
- Reference service shall be provided to all users during all hours the library is open.
- Telephone reference service shall be provided during all hours the library is open.
- Reference service shall extend past the boundaries of a particular collection of staff expertise through active referral and the use of interlibrary loan and other networks.
Reference service shall be measured yearly for efficiency and
effectiveness. Reference Fill Rate Output Measure:
Level I 75 percent Level II 83 percent Level III 90 percent
Interlibrary loan shall be provided to all library users in the
most efficient, cost-effective manner and with the shortest
possible response time.
Level I Local interlibrary loan service provides statewide access to materials through the statewide database. Requests are processed within one (1) week of receipt in the requested library. Level II Interlibrary loan service via the Library of Virginia and the statewide database provides national access to materials. Requests are processed within three (3) days of receipt in the requested library. Level III Local interlibrary loan service provides direct national and statewide access at the local level. Requests are processed within 24 hours of receipt in the requested library.
- A library system shall participate in reciprocal borrowing in order to enhance the community's access to materials.
To extend and enhance services to users, a library shall pursue
other types of appropriate interagency cooperative arrangements
(e.g., shared staff development, programming, public
Level I The public library has informal agreements with some of the other public libraries in its local area and/or region to allow direct user access to materials housed in these collections. Level II The public library has formal, written agreements with some of the other public libraries in its local area and/or region to allow direct user access to materials housed in these collections. Level III The public library has formal, written agreements with other public libraries, and informal agreements with other types of libraries, to allow direct user access to materials housed in these collections.
- Interlibrary loan shall be provided to all library users in the most efficient, cost-effective manner and with the shortest possible response time.
- The library's policy manual shall include a written programming policy. This statement shall be reviewed annually and revised periodically in order to meet the mission, goals, and objectives of the library.
Programming shall be provided with a frequency and variety in
response to community needs.
Level I Year-round programs for one primary target audience. Level II Level I plus the addition of regularly scheduled programs for an additional target audience. Level III Level II plus regularly scheduled programs for additional target audiences.
- Every regional, county, and city library providing library service to an area of more than 400 square miles and/or more than 25,000 persons must provide some form of extension service. (See Addendum 4, Requirements That Must Be Met In Order to Receive Grants-in-Aid).
- Libraries shall establish a delivery system among all outlets and extension services.
- Libraries shall monitor fill rates for users of a library system's outlets and extension services.
- The size of an extension or outlet shall be based on its purpose, but in no case should it replace a branch except when a definite plan exists to upgrade it to a full-service facility.
In the absence of convenient access to a full-service facility
and after an analysis of local needs indicating a full-service
facility is not justified, the following level of extension
service shall apply:
Bookmobiles/Vans Level I Monthly stops of at least 30 minutes within 15 minutes of user's residence; staff of 1 FTE. Level II Twice-a-month stops of at least 30 minutes within 15 minutes of user's residence; ready reference service; staff of 2 FTE. Level III Weekly stops of at least 30 minutes within 15 minutes of user's residence; automated catalog or COMCAT; full reference service via radio and telefacsimile; photocopier provided; staff of 2 FTE (one of whom is a professional librarian).
Books by Mail Level I Annual annotated catalog of at least 500 titles supplemented by a semiannual list of new arrivals; staff of 1 FTE. Level II Semiannual annotated catalog of at least 500 titles supplemented by semiannual lists of new arrivals; staff of 12 FTE. Level III Quarterly annotated catalog of at least 500 titles, supplemented by regular lists of new arrivals; staff of 2 FTE.
- Service by bookmobiles/vans should be offered at a time convenient to the majority of the people in a given area. Evening and weekend hours should be scheduled.
- Vehicles should be equipped to accommodate the handicapped.
- Bookmobile stops should be located to serve the maximum number of people.
- Schedule should be adjusted periodically to accommodate changes in population; either growth or decline.
- Access to Service
- * This document consolidates three separate existing standards documents:
- Recommended Minimum Standards for Virginia Public Libraries (1978)
- Children's Services Suggested Guidelines
- Young Adult Services Guidelines for Virginia
- 1) The Category, Administration and Planning, covering structure and Governance, Planning, Finance, Public Relations, Friends Groups and,
- 2) The full text of Resources and Services Categories, refer to: 027.4, Planning for Library Excellence. Virginia State Library and Archives, 1988