These Guidelines constitute The Library Association's policy statement and recommendations on the nature and quality of library provision for reference and information services in public libraries. Based on current good practice, they identify the key areas and main factors which provide a benchmark for acceptable standards of provision.
Since the publication of the previous guidelines in 1980 there have been many changes in the way information is packaged, published and accessed, and in user needs and expectations. Technological advances have altered the format of much traditional information and made possible new products and services.
The Guidelines are structured as a toolkit for managers responsible for providing reference and information services in public libraries. The kit is presented in nine sections which can be used individually, for specific purposes, or together as a structured whole:
- the information service
- information resources
- quality of service and performance measurement
- publicity and promotion
As a complete package it will assist managers to plan all aspects of their service.
The Guidelines are primarily designed to enable each local authority to set service standards appropriately tailored to the needs of their own communities within a national framework. However, they may also be used as a resource to aid longer term service development.