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Services & Programming

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The community is enriched by programs and services that offer formal, informal, and self-directed learning opportunities for all ages and abilities.


Library directors have the responsibility to hire well-qualified staff that will provide meaningful services and programs to all members of the community.

Services and programs are offered free of charge to everyone in the library’s service area services are accessible by all. Continuous evaluation is essential to assure that programs and services are effective and accessible, and meet the diverse needs and interests of everyone in the community.

Libraries serve as lifelong learning centers with education being an essential part of their mission. In this role, the library actively commits time and resources to coordinate literacy activities at all levels. Family literacy programs, for example, are essential to maintaining or improving student reading skills. Providing resources and services to assist with employment skills, digital inclusion, and economic development is increasingly important. Early literacy, including programs and services for babies, toddlers, and their caregivers, is a unique and vital library offering to the community.

Keeping the library current and relevant to those who use it involves creating platforms for social experiences, offering opportunities for community members to create their own projects, content, and learning experiences. These are all vital aspects of the library’s services and programming.

Checklist: Basic


  1. Adopt relevant policies that emphasize welcoming and effective services and programs for all segments of the community.

  2. Provide basic services free of charge to everyone in the service population as defined by written policies governing lending, borrowing, and circulation.

  3. Adopt written policies on the use of public meeting spaces.

  4. Assist with or serve as a custodian of local history or community memory.


  1. Offer services that meet the needs of the demographics of the community, including special populations, some of which may not use the library.

  2. Offer services that include a circulating collection, public technology, programming for all ages, and a community meeting space.

  3. Train and develop staff members to offer effective services to the public during all hours the library is open, and in other locations, using competencies developed by library associations and agencies.

  4. Offer assistance to the public during all hours the library is open in the use of technology, circulation, and access to materials.

  5. Provide reference, reader’s advisory, and technology services to all ages.

  6. Offer developmentally appropriate collections, programs, and services for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children, and teens. Specific guidance and competencies are available at CLEL, ALSC, and YALSA.

  7. Provide current information to patrons about children’s, adult, and/or family literacy programs offered by the library.

  8. Provide current information on agencies and organizations with programs of interest to patrons.


  1. Provide interactive, age-appropriate programs for all. Typical programs include:
    • Reading programs for all ages, including early literacy and summer learning programs.
    • Outreach that integrates the library as a vital part of the community.
    • Lifelong learning for all community members.
    • Literacy programming and/or space or referrals for other agencies to teach literacy classes.
    • Resources and services to help with job skills and economic development.
  2. Actively involve community leaders in program planning.
  3. Provide inclusive programs and services for community members of all ages, abilities, genders, ethnicities, income levels, etc.
  4. Provide programs at times and locations convenient for the intended audience.

Checklist: Future-Focused

  1. Evaluate all services and programs at regular intervals based on input, output, and outcome measures.
  2. Provide library outreach to various populations in locations where they are.
  3. Provide a variety of spaces for formal, informal, group, and individual study.
  4. Leverage local community members and partners in planning and implementing programs.
  5. Offer programs and literature in languages spoken in the community.