Our position on library accreditation standards and S.B. 902

In 2014 TSLAC and TLA created a joint task force to review the TLA Public Library Standards and the TSLAC Minimum Criteria for Accreditation. The Accreditation Task Force asked for comments on its proposed changes to the minimum criteria for accreditation for public libraries in Texas. In our blog, entitled The Elephant in the Library,  we discussed our concerns about the proposed increase in minimum local operating expenditures, especially for libraries serving populations of 5,000 and under.

We voiced our concern in response to that request for comments on the proposed changes.  After the Accreditation Task Force’s final recommendations were adopted by TSLAC, and TLA updated their recommended public library standards to match, we did not pursue the matter further.

Recently it has come to our attention that a bill filed in the 2017 Texas legislature, S.B. 902, forbids TSLAC from establishing library accreditation standards that include any minimum requirements related to

  • local operating expenditures
  • collections based on publication dates
  • hours the library is open to the public, and
  • the number of library employees and their classification as “professional” librarians.

We wish to go on record that we do not support S.B. 902, and to state that any attempt to use our 2014 discussion in support of that or a similar bill is a distortion of our purpose and reasoning.

We did not in 2014 nor do we now advocate for any of the quantitative standards to be eliminated from the accreditation criteria.

We believe that TSLAC, with input for the library community, is the appropriate body to set the standards for accreditation of libraries in Texas and that legislative control over TSLAC’s function in this area is unnecessary, inappropriate, and counterproductive.

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