The description of the event.
The Montana State Library Commission is the statutory body to “act as a state board of professional standards and library examiners, develop standards for public libraries, and adopt rules for the certification of librarians;” (MCA. 22-1-103 (8)). Montana’s current public library standards, which can be found in Administrative Rules of Montana 10.102.1150A-M, were adopted in 2010. Since that time, numerous influences have begun to shape the nature of library service. Libraries have been under increasing budgetary pressure while at the same time tasked with providing new and changing services. Studies, including Rising to the Challenge: Re-envisioning Public Libraries, published by the Aspen Institute in 2014, called on libraries to turn outwards to be more engaged in understand and serving the needs of communities. The Montana State Library’s Library Development Study Task Force reinforced the need for library development to ensure that libraries could be nimble in the face of change. The State Library Commission, with input from the library community, articulated their vision for Montana library services, led by the State Library, that ensure that all Montanans will have access to library content and services, sufficient unto their needs. And Montana’s libraries are being called upon to think more deliberately about the impact they have on their communities.
As the role of libraries change so too must the standards libraries strive to meet for libraries to successfully ensure that their users and communities thrive. The State Library seeks feedback from the library community about how the nature of current and future library work should be reflected in the standards all public libraries must meet to qualify for state funding. The State Librarian charges this task force to develop a process to study Montana’s current library standards and those of interest from other states; and to recommend standards that reflect the dynamic, impact driven, community focused work of libraries.