Network Bulletin No. 04-19
Date: March 26, 2004
Subject: ALA standards
Index term: Draft revision of the Revised Standards and
Guidelines of Service for the Library of Congress Network of Libraries for the Blind
and Physically Handicapped, 1995
Attached is a draft revision of the __ALA Revised Standards and Guidelines . . .
1995. __ Please review and comment directly to Ms. Courtney Deines-Jones, project director, at the
telephone number/e-mail address on the attachment.
Ms. Deines-Jones will be attending the national conference in Rapid City, S.D., in May to provide a
status update on the revision and to seek further comments and input from the network.
For further information contact:
Head, Network Services Section
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Revised Standards and Guidelines of Service
for the Library of Congress Network of Libraries
for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
(Released February 15, 2004)
These draft revised standards and guidelines for Network Library Service for the
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped are the result of
the work of a dedicated working team and advisory committee, and insightful input
from many people in the community from librarians, to patrons of NLS libraries,
to others who share our commitment to excellent service. We encourage you to
disseminate these standards and guidelines as widely as possible, and to comment
on any item, large or small, that you believe will help strengthen these guidelines.
The public comment period will extend until September 1, 2004, to allow as broad
a review period as possible. The goal of the working team and advisory committee
is to present the final standards to the American Library Association for approval in
January 2005. Your input is critical to the success of this project.
Please forward your comments directly to the ASCLA project director, Courtney
Deines-Jones, at the address below:
The Grimalkin Group, LLC
8639B 16th Street., #!48
Silver Spring, MD 20901
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Revised Standards and Guidelines (Draft)
Provision of Services
1.1 Network Libraries shall register patrons in compliance with PL 85-522
(Pratt-Smoot Act as amended and extended).
a. Network Libraries shall maintain information about patrons to meet LC/NLS
requirements and to provide service
b. Network Libraries shall, within 3 business days of receiving an application for
service, verify that the application is complete, initiate contact for additional
information, or return the application for proper certification.
c. Once a completed application is verified, Network Libraries shall initiate service
within 2 business days.
d. Network libraries that have in their service areas specialized schools serving
eligible children shall develop a relationship with these schools to ensure that all
eligible children are registered for NLS services.
e. Network Libraries shall ensure the confidentiality of patron records, and shall
comply with the ALA policy on confidentiality on patron records.
1.4 Machine lending agencies (MLAs) and sublending agencies (SLAs) shall
comply with the MLA agreements and the sublending agency agreement.
a. LC/NLS shall provide each MLA and SLA with a procedures manual.
b. Network Libraries shall provide analog/audiocassette playback equipment
and accessories within two business days of a patron application or request.
c. As developed and made available, Network Libraries shall provide digita
playback equipment and accessories using an equitable distribution policy.
1.5 Network Libraries shall maintain their circulation and machine lending
1.6 Network Libraries shall establish loan periods for reading materials.
a. Network libraries shall levy no fines on overdue or lost materials in the national
b. Network libraries shall develop and communicate to their patrons appropriate
loan policies for materials not in the national collection such as large print and
1.7 Network libraries shall organize their services to ensure convenient access to
materials and services.
a. Network Libraries shall provide materials and information about these services in
b. Network Libraries shall provide hours of service that meet patrons' needs.
c. Network Libraries shall ensure that library service meets individual readers'
preferences and patterns.
d. Network Libraries shall provide reader advisors to assist patrons in identifying
specific materials in their areas of interest by title, author, subject, or genre.
1.8 Network Libraries shall promote independent access to materials and
services through appropriate on-line, telephonic, and other means.
a. Network Libraries shall develop and communicate processes and procedures for
using these tools.
1.9 Network Libraries shall process patron requests for materials and
information by the next business day. Requests for materials generated through
TBT / BBR and similar promotional activities shall be processed within 5 business
a. Network Libraries shall have the capability to accept patron requests via toll-free
voice and TDD/TTY; voice mail; and messaging capabilities, with toll-free telephone
service that is answered by staff members during all business hours. During hours
in which the library is closed the toll-free number shall provide voice mail or
b. Network Libraries shall have the capability to process requests and provide
service via e-mail and on-line access, including an OPAC, that are fully accessible
to people with disabilities.
c. Network Libraries shall have the capability to accept patron requests viafacsimile
and regular mail.
d. Network Libraries shall have the capability to serve walk-in patrons.
1.10 Network Libraries shall process all returned materials by the next business
a. Network libraries shall ensure that circulating materials are inspected, in good
condition, and fully prepared for the next reader. (old 1.7.d)
1.11 Network Libraries shall respond to patron requests for contact the same
1.12 Network Libraries shall respond to patron requests for information, including
a. Network Libraries shall fulfill ready reference and information requests from their
patrons the same business d
b. Network Libraries shall fulfill in-depth reference requests from their patrons
within five business days.
c. Network Libraries shall refer their patrons to public, university, and other
libraries or resources if appropriate and shall collaborate with public libraries to
facilitate fulfillment of reference requests
1.13 Network Libraries shall provide newsletters at least quarterly and other
direct communications as appropriate in accessible formats.
a. Network Libraries shall provide newsletters and other direct communications in
hard copy and electronic formats and shall have the capability to deliver electronic
format materials via e-mail.
b. Network Libraries shall make electronic copies of newsletters and other direct
communications available on a website accessible to people who have disabilities.
1.14 Each Network Library shall maintain a website that is accessible to people
who have disabilities.
a. Network Library websites shall provide OPACs and other appropriate
bibliographic finding aids.
b. Network Libraries shall accept patron requests for materials and information via
c. Network Libraries shall accept patron feedback via their websites.
d. Network Libraries shall post copies of all forms, patron policies and procedures;
annual reports and other public documents; electronic copies of newsletters and
other communications; hours of operation; links to LC/NLS; and other relevant
information on their websites.
e. Network Libraries shall continually review all information and links on their
websites to ensure information is current and correct.
f. Network Libraries should include supplemental information relevant to their
patrons, such as links to consumer groups and other libraries and service agencies,
on their websites.
1.15 Network Libraries shall provide patrons with information about and referrals
to other service agencies.
1.16 Network Libraries shall maintain information about national, state, and local
reading programs and book discussion groups and shall facilitate patron
participation in these activities.
a. Network Libraries shall provide bibliographies to public libraries describing titles
in the collection related to national, statewide, and regional reading program
b. Regional Libraries shall participate in national, state, and regional reading
programs and book discussion groups. Subregional libraries shall support such
initiatives within their service areas.
c. Network Libraries shall develop individualized reading programs and book
discussion groups as appropriate.
1.17 Network Libraries shall provide access to library materials through
interlibrary loan or other resource sharing options.
a. LC/NLS shall coordinate alternative media book exchange and interlibrary loan
with libraries and other agencies outside the United States.
1.18 Regional and subregional libraries shall establish deposit collections and
demonstration collections to extend services.
1.19 LC/NLS shall provide services to United States citizens residing abroad in
compliance with these standards.
1.20 LC/NLS shall provide music service to patrons in compliance with these
1.21 LC/NLS shall provide direct service to patrons who need titles in obsolete,
experimental or little-used formats in compliance with these standards.
1.22 LC/NLS shall provide a web site available to the public that is accessible to
people who have disabilities.
a. LC/NLS shall include on the website an OPAC with links to relevant information,
publications, sources of materials and electronically provided services.
b. LC/NLS shall provide links to network libraries.
1.23 Network Libraries shall provide services in languages other than English as
appropriate to their communities.
a. Network Libraries shall maintain resources and collaborate with otherinstitutions
to serve patrons who speak or read languages other than English.
1.24 Network Libraries shall collaborate with public libraries, schools, and other
agencies to promote literacy services for young (pre-reading) children.
a. Collections and services developed by Network Libraries to serve young (pre-
reading) children shall be provided in accordance with these standards.
2. Resource Development and Management
2.1 LC/NLS shall make available audio playback equipment and accessories.
a. LC/NLS shall develop and implement methods of quality control.
b. LC/NLS shall ensure equitable distribution of playback equipment and
c. Network Libraries shall maintain sufficient inventories to ensure provision of
analog audiocassette playback equipment and accessories within two business
days of a patron application or request.
2.2 LC/NLS shall develop and implement a systematic process of obtaining input
from network librarians and patrons on the development of digital audio playback
equipment and on equitable distribution methods for this equipment.
2.3 LC/NLS shall make available the national library collection.
a. LC/NLS shall develop and implement methods of quality control.
b. LC/NLS shall ensure equitable distribution.
c. LC/NLS shall produce a minimum of 2,000 titles annually.
2.4 LC/NLS shall develop and implement a systematic process of obtaining input
from network libraries, advisory committees, and patrons on collection
development and quantity of materials selected in addition to using standard
collection development materials.
2.5 LC/NLS shall make available in limited quantity other reading materials in
accessible formats to supplement the national library collection in addition to
materials produced for distribution to the network. Examples of these materials
include BRAs, BRXs, and BRFs.
2.6 Regional and subregional libraries shall acquire or produce reading materials
to supplement the national collection.
a. Regional and subregional libraries shall produce reading materials in a
specialized format in accordance with appropriate copyright laws in response to
patron demand and emphasizing titles of regional and local importance.
b. Network libraries shall maintain non-circulating masters of all locally produced
c. Regional and subregional libraries shall share locally produced materials with
other network libraries.
2.7 LC/NLS shall establish, promulgate, and monitor quality control standards
for materials in accessible formats produced by network libraries
a. Regional and subregional libraries shall meet LC/NLS quality control standards in
producing accessible format materials to be added to the local collection.
b. LC/NLS shall review locally produced materials submitted by Network Libraries
to determine whether they meet LC/NLS quality assurance standards.
c. LC/NLS shall facilitate the distribution of locally produced materials that meet
LC/NLS quality assurance standards.
2.8 Network libraries shall have the capacity to duplicate accessible format
materials produced for the national collection according to LC/NLS quality control
2.9 Network Libraries shall maintain or provide access to collections of sufficient
quantity and condition to meet patron demand in a timely and responsive manner.
a. Network Libraries shall alter or discontinue circulation of any format of material
only with input from and in collaboration with LC/NLS, network library advisory
committees, and patrons
2.10 Regional and subregional libraries shall develop and implement procedures
to determine the number of copies of new titles to request from the national
a. Regional libraries shall maintain in each format they circulate a minimum of one
copy of each title they distribute by LC/NLS
b. Subregional libraries shall maintain in each format they circulate at least one
copy of each title distributed by LC/NLS in the last 24 months
c. LC/NLS, in collaboration with Network Libraries, shall develop and implement
appropriate retention policies for digital materials.
2.11 Network Libraries shall use the bibliographic standard adopted by LC/NLS
when cataloging materials.
2.12 LC/NLS shall provide network libraries with information on changes to the
a. LC/NLS shall provide bibliographic information in full MARC format for titles
produced for the national collection.
b. LC/NLS shall provide Network Libraries with online access to bibliographic data
for all titles in the collection.
c. LC/NLS shall, on a continuous basis, advise network libraries of titles that
LC/NLS has produced in quantity and titles that may be withdrawn from the
2.13 Network Libraries shall, within their collection maintenance policies,
systematically review and weed their collections and dispose of excess copies or
withdraw titles in accordance with LC/NLS procedures.
2.14 LC/NLS shall maintain a circulating collection of titles in obsolete,
experimental, or little-used formats. Examples include Grade 3 Braille and BRX.
2.15 LC/NLS shall maintain an archival collection of titles produced for the national
2.16 Network Libraries shall maintain or have access to professional materials and
resources that support the development and provision of library services.
a. Network Libraries shall maintain or have access to a collection of standard
reference works and of reader advisory reference materials.
2.17 Network Libraries shall maintain information about national, state, and local
organizations and programs concerned with services to eligible users.
2.18 LC/NLS shall inform network libraries of basic and current professional
literature pertaining to the physical conditions described in the LC/NLS
2.19 LC/NLS shall provide Network Libraries with information pertaining to
resources for or of interest to eligible users.
a. LC/NLS shall maintain and make available resource information in accessible
formats, including electronic formats.
3. Public Education and Outreach
3.1 Network Libraries shall develop and implement a coordinated public
awareness, education, and outreach plan for use in their service areas.
a. Network Libraries shall collaborate with public and other libraries, schools,
veterans' organizations, senior organizations, and other agencies as appropriate to
promote their services.
b. Network Libraries shall develop and implement awareness programs and
materials for students in library science, education, early childhood education,
social service, and similar college and university programs.
c. Network Libraries shall conduct awareness activities and events as appropriate
to promote a climate of public opinion awareness favorable to the development,
expansion, and improvement of library services. Examples include author/narrator
events and open houses.
3.2 LC/NLS shall continually review network public awareness programs, and
shall develop and implement national advertising, awareness, and education
programs to effectively reach potential patrons.
a. LC/NLS shall develop and disseminate materials to promote awareness of
network services in coordination with the anniversary of the passage of the 1931
3.3 LC/NLS shall develop and disseminate a model for community analysis that
can be adapted for use by regional and subregional libraries.
a. Network Libraries shall conduct a community analysis based on the LC/NLS
4. Consulting Services
4.1 LC/NLS shall provide a minimum of two full time consultants to advise and
assist network libraries.
a. LC/NLS network consultants shall conduct biennial consulting visits to each
4.2 Regional libraries shall advise and assist subregional libraries as well as
other libraries and agencies in the development of services in their geographic area
a. Regional libraries shall conduct annual consulting visits to each subregional
4.3 The LC/NLS and the regional library consultant shall prepare and submit a
final written report of observations and recommendations and shall send a copy to
the network library visited and its administering agency within 3 months of the
a. LC/NLS and Network Libraries shall jointly develop and implement procedures to
facilitate timely review and finalization of consulting reports.
4.4 Visited network libraries shall prepare a written response within three
months of receiving the consultant report and shall send a copy to the visited
network library's administering agency and the consultant.
4.5 Subregional libraries shall advise and assist local libraries and related
agencies in their geographic service areas.
4.6 Network Libraries shall participate in peer consulting through NLS, ASCLA,
and other professional associations as appropriate.
4.7 LC/NLS shall serve as a clearinghouse for information related to network
services and operations.
5.1 Network Libraries shall use volunteers to assist in the performance of
activities that supplement its basic program of services.
5.2 Volunteers shall not be used in place of paid employees.
5.3 Paid employees shall not be replaced by volunteers.
5.4 Network Libraries' volunteer programs shall be managed in accordance with
administering agency policy and practice.
5.5 Network Libraries including MLAs shall develop and implement an
organizational structure that formally incorporates administration of the volunteer
5.6 Network Libraries shall provide training and orientation programs and
materials for volunteers that include information about blindness and disabling
conditions as well as on the structure and philosophy of service.
5.7 Network Libraries including MLAs will develop and implement programs that
recognize volunteer activities at minimum on an annual basis.
6.1 The regional library shall be responsible for MLA functions as described in
the MLA Service Agreement.
a. The regional library/MLA may designate SLAs with LC/NLS concurrence.
b. Each MLA shall be responsible for ensuring that its SLAs comply with machine
lending policy and procedure.
6.2 Each Network Library shall comply with laws and regulations pertaining to
rights of and services to persons with disabilities.
6.3 The state library agency shall be responsible for the development and
coordination of this library service either directly through its administration and
budget or indirectly through cooperation with the administering and the funding
6.4 Network Libraries shall provide a means of rapid communication with
6.5 Regional and subregional libraries shall continually administer, monitor, and
evaluate deposit collection and demonstration collection operation and
6.6 These standards shall apply as appropriate to all network cooperating units,
including contractors, institutional borrowers, and any others who perform
services or functions covered in the standards.
6.7 The network shall be composed of no fewer than four regional conferences.
a. Regional conferences shall collaborate to sponsor joint meetings and events as
6.8 Network Libraries shall encourage advice and input from a full spectrum of
patrons and patron constituency groups through mechanisms including, but not
limited to, advisory committees, focus groups, and patron forums.
a. Network Libraries shall make appropriate use of communications technologies to
facilitate consumer participation in patron and patron constituency groups.
6.11 Network Libraries shall establish friends groups to support and promote
7. Budget and Funding
7.1 Federal, state, and local units of government shall contribute funds,
resources and services to network libraries for the provision of library services to
a. Federal funds such as LSTA intended for seed funds and grants shall not be
used to fund long-term ongoing operations.
7.2. Network Libraries shall provide all LC/NLS-mandated services at no charge to
7.3 Network Libraries should provide supplemental services at no charge to the
7.4 Administering and funding agencies shall commit resources to enable
network libraries to effectively operate, administer, and facilitate services as defined
by these standards.
7.5 The head of each network library shall have primary responsibility for the
planning and administration of the budget as well as the presentation or
justification of the budget to appropriate groups or individuals.
7.6 The funding agency shall consult with the head of its network library before
any action is taken affecting the finances of the library program.
7.7 Network libraries shall work with administering and funding agencies to
obtain outside funding for non-operational functions. Examples include grants and
8. Planning and Evaluation
8.1 Each network library shall develop a comprehensive long-range plan
designed to develop, implement, maintain and improve services and programs and
to make optimum use of resources.
a. Long-range plans shall be developed in cooperation with appropriate
constituencies, especially patrons, administering and funding agencies, and
associated Network Libraries.
b. The long-range plan shall include measurable objectives and a timetable for
8.2 Progress toward meeting objectives shall be reviewed regularly and the plan
shall be revised at least annually.
8.3 The long-range plan shall be developed in accordance with PL 89-522
(Pratt-Smoot Act as amended and extended) as well as other appropriate statues
8.4 The long-range plan shall be produced in accessible formats and shall be
advertised and made available to patrons.
8.5 LC/NLS shall obtain consumer and Network Librarian input to its long-range
8.6 LC/NLS shall develop and recommend methods for evaluating patron
satisfaction with network libraries.
8.7 Network Libraries shall adapt and implement methods for evaluating patron
satisfaction at minimum on an annual basis.
a. When patron satisfaction is evaluated, the results shall be used to improve
8.8 LC/NLS shall develop and implement methods for evaluating Network Library
satisfaction with LC/NLS services on an annual basis.
9. Policies and Procedures
9.1 Each network library shall have written policies and procedures for library
operations designed to meet service goals.
a. Each Network Library shall have a written statement of policy for collection
development and maintenance; for materials selection; for the reproduction of
materials in accessible formats; for interlibrary loan; for service provision to patrons
including patron confidentiality; and for patron behavior and library usage.
b. Network libraries shall make available service policies and procedures in
c. Network Libraries shall communicate any changes in policies, procedures, or
services offered to other libraries and units affected by the change in a timely
9.2 LC/NLS shall develop model policies required or needed in the network and
shall make them available online.
9.3 Each Network Library shall review its policies biennially.
9.4 LC/NLS shall include patrons and representatives of network libraries as
advisors in the development and review of policies that affect the network.
9.5 Regional libraries shall include LC/NLS in the development and review of
9.6 Subregional libraries shall include regional libraries in the development and
review of service policies.
9.7 Regional libraries with subregional libraries shall include representataives of
subregional libraries as advisors in the development and review of operational
9.8 Each Network Library shall provide its staff and its cooperating units with an
up-to-date manual that includes policies and procedures.
9.9 Network Libraries shall inform patrons of service policies and shall notify
patrons of changes that will affect them.
a. Network Libraries will maintain up-to-date copies of service policies on their
9.10 Each network library shall develop and make available instructional materials
in accessible formats to guide patrons in the use of this library service.
9.11 Each regional library shall work with its subregional libraries to develop
strategies that contribute to a consistent range and quality of service in the
geographic area served.
9.12 LC/NLS shall work with each region to develop strategies that contribute to a
consistent range and quality of service for all NLS patrons.
a. LC/NLS shall develop directories and other appropriate tools to facilitate
collaborations and resource sharing and shall provide them online
10. Reports, Statistical and Narrative
10.1 Each network library shall maintain current and accurate statistical records
to document use, services, and acquisitions; to meet the requirements of the
administering agency, the funding agency, and LC/NLS; and to generate
information for planning purposes.
10.2 LC/NLS shall define, collect, analyze, publish and distribute comparable data
for the network on and annual basis and shall make this information
available to Network Libraries online.
10.3 Each network library shall prepare an annual narrative and statistical report
and shall make it available in appropriate and accessible formats to the
administering agency, the funding agency, patrons, LC/NLS, and other
11.1 Network libraries shall operate under a written affirmative action plan.
a. Network libraries should make every effort to advertise to, solicit applications
from, and employ qualified persons with disabilities.
11.2 Network libraries shall maintain a commitment to cultural diversity.
11.3 Each network library shall prepare an organizational chart describing clear
lines of authority.
11.4 Each Network Library shall develop and maintain a position description for
each title or each category of position.
11.5 The Network Library and its administrative agency shall, at minimum once
every 5 years, jointly review and determine staffing patterns and requirements
based on, but not limited to, the following: long-range plans; demographics of
service population; geography; services provided; service patterns; physical facility;
use of technologies; support provided by the administrative agency; and the
guidelines included in these standards.
11.6 The administrative head of a network library shall possess a master's degree
in library science from an ALA accredited program and shall be on the same
administrative level as comparable unit heads within the administering agency.
11.7 Staff performing reader advisory service shall possess a bachelor's degree.
11.8 Network libraries shall plan and conduct formal orientation programs for
employees that include information about blindness and disabling conditions as
well as on the structure and philosophy of service.
11.9 Network Libraries shall send appropriate staff members who have completed
at least 6 months on the job to the LC/NLS orientation program.
11.10 The regional library shall provide training and orientation for appropriate
subregional library employees within the first three months of employment.
11.11 Network libraries shall encourage and support relevant continuing education
activities for staff at all levels of the organization.
a. Network Libraries shall encourage and support staff participation in professional
b. Network Libraries shall encourage and support site visits and staff exchanges to
other libraries as appropriate.
11.12 An LC/NLS network consultant shall visit new directors of regional
libraries within the first 6 months of employment.
11.13 Appropriate staff of each Network Library shall participate in meetings of
11.14 Appropriate staff of each Network Library shall participate in network
11.15 Appropriate staff of each Network Library shall participate in meetings of
12 Research and Development
12.1 LC/NLS shall conduct and encourage research and development efforts
relating to all aspects of this library service.
a. LC/NLS shall serve as a clearinghouse for research and development findings.
12.2 Network Libraries shall test, evaluate, and use new technologies, equipment,
services, and materials to improve access to information and library services as
well as to improve library services and operations.
a. Network libraries shall use compatibility with local or national systems as a
criterion for evaluating and selecting technologies, equipment, services, and
12.5 LC/NLS shall collect and analyze data relating to elements of the standards
for the purpose of planning and to identify quantitative norms for network library
a. LC/NLS shall disseminate the results of these analyses to Network Libraries and
shall make these results available online.