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Library Services & Programs


The community is enriched by formal, informal, and self-directed library services and programs that meet the needs, interests, and abilities of all.


Services and programs are the foundation of a community-centered public library. To ensure access for all, tax-funded public libraries offer free services and programs. In addition, value-added services, such as passports, copying, etc. may require cost recovery fees.

Public libraries serve all and are centers for literacy, lifelong learning, discovery, and connection. Both formal and informal learning occur with intrinsically motivated inquiry and intellectual curiosity encouraged.

The library commits time, staff, and resources to coordinate literacy and learning activities for all ages and reading levels by engaging individuals, families, and social groups. Multiple literacies are considered beyond reading, including information literacy and digital literacy. In addition, the library promotes recreational reading and learning, skill-building in diverse areas, and economic development just to name a few topics.

Continuous experimentation and assessment ensure that services and programs are fresh, effective, accessible, and meet the diverse needs and interests of various residents in the community.

Keeping the library current and relevant to those in the community involves opportunities for community members to be engaged in making suggestions, offering support, and co-creating the library their community needs. Collaborating with other agencies enriches services and programs as outlined in the Community Engagement standard.

A child reading in a cozy chair

Checklists as PDF

Library Services & Programs Essentials

Checklist for All Public Libraries


  • Establish and uphold written policies and procedures for:
    • Basic services are free of charge to everyone residing in the legal service area.
    • Public use of spaces, services, equipment, collections, programs, and public meeting spaces. Ensure policies emphasize welcoming, efficient, and effective services and programs for all segments of the community.
    • Safety and security of staff and library users with specific training and protocols that align with the community’s law enforcement and emergency services.
    • Customer service quality, including staff protocols and training for addressing and de-escalating disruptive behavior with compassion. Train and support staff in using best practices when addressing behavior issues in the library.
    • Public request for reconsideration of programs; align these policies and processes with other reconsideration policies related to collections and displays.
    • Library user intellectual freedom; privacy; copyright, intellectual property and fair use; ADA access; and other legal requirements.
    • Non-resident use, including participation in Colorado Libraries Collaborate as outlined in the Resource Sharing Standard.
  • Uphold the Core Values of Librarianship regarding all library services and programs.
  • Ensure quality and relevant library services and programs for all through community member input from non-users and feedback from library users. Refine and improve services based on regular community member feedback.
  • Partner with other organizations, as appropriate, to enhance services and programs, strengthen other organizations, and further limited resources.


  • Offer in-library and virtual services that meet the needs and interests of the varied demographics of the community.
  • Provide staff assistance to the public during the hours the library is open, including help with the computers, Wi-Fi, circulation, and access to materials.
  • Provide outreach services, when feasible, to those community members who may not be able to visit the library building.
  • Address community member needs and interests through library services that include research assistance, readers advisory, digital literacy, information literacy, and, when feasible, community meeting space(s).
  • Provide information to library users about local literacy opportunities for children, teens, adults, and/or family literacy, including those offered in the library and in other parts of the community.


  • Provide interactive, age-appropriate programs for all ages and developmental levels.
    • Early literacy programs for children and their caregivers at least once a week.
    • Programs for school-aged children and teens at least twice a month.
    • Host pleasure reading and enrichment experiences, such as summer learning and after-school activities for children, teens, and families, and book discussions for adults.
    • Integrate the library into the community, such as visits to preschools, K-12 schools, or senior living, and particularly serve those who face barriers to coming to the library.
    • Host programs that value lifelong learning for all community members.
  • Offer literacy programming and/or space or referrals for other agencies to teach literacy classes.
  • Provide inclusive programs and services for community members of all ages, abilities, genders, ethnicities, income levels, literacy levels, language preferences, etc.
  • Provide programs at times and locations convenient for the intended audience.

Making Information Readily Available to the Public

  • Help with digital literacy, e-communications, business development, e-government access, test proctoring, and/or other digital access. These services may include informal, one-on-one help as well as formal training.
  • Leverage partners and other resources to address local needs and interests, such as telehealth, workforce support, office productivity software, artificial intelligence (AI) searching, privacy training, security, social media, and multimedia.
  • Ensure that the library website, computers, and other technology are accessible to all individuals consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Colorado laws on web accessibility (C.R.S. §§ 24-85-101 – 24-85-104), and the statewide accessibility standards established by the Colorado Office of Information Technology.
  • Provide, maintain, and replace technologies to offer:
  • Internet access stations (computers, laptops, etc.) for in-library use
  • Wi-Fi in the library and surrounding grounds, including in hours when the library is not open.
  • Photocopiers and scanners
  • Host a website under the control of the library with anytime/anywhere access to library materials, online resources, and library information. Update library news and community information regularly. (Free-of-charge website creation and hosting is available through the Colorado State Library.)

Library Services Essentials +

 Checklist for Larger Libraries


  • Provide scheduled library outreach to various populations in locations where they are via bookmobile service, pop-up libraries, Little Free Libraries, home delivery, and/or other methods.
  • Leverage local partners and community members when planning and implementing services and programs, including reaching diverse populations.
  • Offer services and programs in languages spoken in the community.
  • Evaluate all services and programs regularly based on input, output, and outcome measures.
  • Share innovative library services and programs with other libraries in Colorado via the Colorado Virtual Library and other venues.
  • Assist with or serve as a custodian of local history and/or community memory when relevant.

Making Information Readily Available to the Public

  • Invest in relevant and cutting-edge technology, including staff and public training, to offer services such as, but not limited to:
    • Teleservices support, such as telehealth check out kits and/or soundproof booth
    • Audiovisual studio equipment
    • Virtual reality and/or gaming equipment and spaces
    • Electronic classrooms, in-library computer labs, and/or one-on-one tech help
    • Device check out, including laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, tablets, etc.
    • Maker space equipment and programs
  • Curate online resources to ensure public access to quality, freely available information.
  • Offer youth and adults opportunities to create content by providing software, equipment, instruction, and/or mentorship. 

← Return to the Standards  Full Library Services & Programs Standard as PDF  Resources (coming soon)

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