Standards for Public Library Services to Children in Massachusetts
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History of the ChildrenŐs Standards in Massachusetts
Chronicling the evolution of change within a core document is an important part of an organizationŐs history. We hope this will remind all who use the Standards for Public Library Services to Children in Massachusetts that it is a living document. The Standards are regularly reviewed and revised to ensure that the content will always be a powerful tool to advocate for ChildrenŐs library service in our state.
In 1985, the Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) approved the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee to create a document which would serve as a guide for library service to children in Massachusetts. They decided not to provide Óoutput measuresÓ within the standards document because they felt there was enough information already written on this topic. The committee chose the following definition of standards: "something that is established by authority, custom, or consent as a model or example to be followed." The committee completed its task and the MLA Executive board approved the document in December, 1987. The membership of MLA voted to adopt the Standards for Public Library Services to Children in Massachusetts at the May 1988 annual conference. Shortly thereafter, a committee of librarians petitioned the MLA Executive Board to initiate a children's section. The MLA Executive Committee approved this petition and the Children's Issues Section (CIS) was formed. One of the primary functions of CIS was to promote and maintain the standards document.
The timeline below, tracks significant events that have taken place since the Standards for Public Library Services to Children in Massachusetts was adopted by MLA in 1988.
- In 1989, a survey was conducted amongst librarians to evaluate the effectiveness of the standards document. Librarians reported that they used the children's standards document to establish children's librarian positions in their communities; advocate for children's access to all library materials, services and programs; and to guide their planning and research when improving, renovating, or constructing the children's public library facility.
- In 1990, MLA/CIS featured an on-going column called "Standards Scan" in The Bay State Librarian to promote the standards document as the first place to look for ideas on strong children's services for the public library.
- In 1991, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) made public library utilization of Standards for Public Library Services to Children in Massachusetts a key criterion to become eligible to receive LSTA Title I funding for children's services grant projects.
- During the 1994 calendar year, MLA/CIS formed a subcommittee to officially review and update the Standards for Public Library Services to Children in Massachusetts. The revision was completed and adopted by the membership of MLA in 1995. A print copy of the Standards was sent by MLA to every public library director in Massachusetts and to local secondary schools which have library science programs.
- In 2002, the Youth Services section of MLA formed a subcommittee to review and revise the Standards for Public Library Services to Children in Massachusetts.