Standards and Best Practices

Alberta library boards often request information on basic service standards and best practices in order to compare their library with those of similar size.  Public Library Services Branch produced the document Standards and Best Practices for Public Libraries in Alberta to meet the need for this information.

These standards and best practices:

  • encourage equity in delivery of library services for residents of Alberta
  • provide a point of reference for self-evaluation 
  • provide a framework for future development
  • encourage excellence in library service


The Standards section contains a summary of the legal standards required of all public libraries in Alberta.

The Libraries Act and Libraries Regulation establish the legal infrastructure for the provision of service at local library boards and system library boards.

Library boards must comply with these standards to receive provincial operating funds. 

Best Practices

The Best Practices section provides service levels that each board can consider as they assess and plan their library service, while taking into account the community‚Äôs expectations, challenges, and growth.  These best practices are not standards required by the province.

Each local library board is responsible for determining how it measures its success.  Boards can use best practices to determine if their measures of success are comparable to other similar libraries.

The Best Practices section identifies two levels of service, essential and exemplary. 

  • Essential service levels fulfill those requirements absolutely necessary to provide basic library service.
  • Exemplary service offers recommendations/suggestions to enhance the basic elements and to strive for outstanding library service. 

The areas of best practice include:

  • governance
  • collaboration
  • plan of service
  • personnel
  • collection management
  • information services
  • resource-sharing
  • technology
  • hours of opening
  • facilities



  • Date modified: 2016-01-15