MM libraries achieve prestigious accreditation

Thank You for Your Patience

During the past few months, many patrons have wondered  why the Almonte and Pakenham branches have been in a state of flux, with rooms rearranged, book shelving lowered, computers migrating, some furniture disappearing  and new signage appearing. To explain the apparent chaos, we were preparing for a provincial accreditation audit. Fortunately, our efforts have paid off; we were successfully accredited by the Ontario Public Library Guidelines Monitoring and Accreditation Council on November 12, 2018.

According to the Ontario Public Library Guidelines Monitoring and Accreditation Council website, less than 40 libraries — of 380 throughout Ontario — have achieved official accreditation status. Understanding that the process required a major commitment, the MMPL Board made accreditation a priority for 2018.

Board chair Mary Lou Souter explains, “Accreditation for a library is the equivalent of an industry or business achieving an ISO 9000 standard. Yes, this is a big deal for us, and we’re all very proud to have achieved our goal.” The actual audit took place on one day, but took many months of preparation. On November 12, auditors toured the Almonte and Pakenham branches and measured MMPL policies, procedures, services and facilities against 186 standards. To be successful, policies need to be up-to-date; procedures have to reflect policies and best practices, and all branches need to meet the needs of residents by providing accessible, mixed-use space. In order to be successful, a library needs to achieve over 90% and meet all mandatory standards; our final mark was 98.3%!

Achieving accreditation status is important because it shows residents, municipal council and potential funding organizations that a library works at high standards and follows best practices.  Peggy Malcolm, Southern Ontario Library Services co-ordinator and accreditation auditor, noted that  the accreditation process provides an official seal of approval  to the library service currently being offered to the public, and improves accountability to the municipality and ultimately to the taxpayer.