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OED Online: standard, n. (a.) II. 10. a. (Originally fig. from 9.) An authoritative or recognized exemplar of correctness, perfection, or some definite degree of any quality. b. A rule, principle, or means of judgement or estimation; a criterion, measure. 12. a. A definite level of excellence, attainment, wealth, or the like, or a definite degree of any quality, viewed as a prescribed object of endeavour or as the measure of what is adequate for some purpose.


Standards for Canadian College Libraries (aka CTCL Standards), 2004.
Canadian Library Association, CACUL Division, CTCL Section. 1150 Morrison Drive,Suit 400, Ottawa, Ontario K2H 8S9 Tel: (613) 232-9625, ext. 310 Fax: (613) 563-9895 Link:

ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education. Approved June 2004.
American Library Association. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, Illinois. 60611. Tel: 800-545-2433 TDD: 888 814-7692 Link: Applies to: libraries involved in higher education in the United States. 

Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL)
CAUL best practice publications



ACRL has published several useful standards:

 Access to Original Research Materials, ALA-SAA Joint Statement on (Feb. 1994)
 Interlibrary Loan of Rare and Unique Materials, Guidelines for the (June 2004)
 Thefts in Libraries, Guidelines Regarding (January 2003)
 Selection of General Collection Materials for Transfer to Special Collections, Guidelines on the, 2nd edition (Feb. 1994, Revised 1999)



Budgeting and Finance


Communication and Integration (library- and campus-wide)


Collaboration (Regional/national)


Collection Development

There is useful information in the Collection Development Policies and Assessment Committee of the
reference and Users Services division of the American Library Association.

In addition, the Association of College and Research Libraries division has published a number of standards that bear on collection development.


Provincial accessibility requirements: e.g. Ontarians with Disabilities Act:

Various Committees: e.g.
Branch Libraries in Colleges and Universities, Guidelines for (June 1990)



ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Approved 2000.
American Library Association. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, Illinois. 60611. Tel: 800-545-2433 TDD: 888 814-7692 Link:

ACRL's information literacy standard:

Instruction Programs in Academic Libraries, Guidelines for (June 2003)
Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (Jan. 2000)
Information Literacy Instruction, Objectives for: A Model Statement for Academic Librarians (Jan. 2001)
Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices: A Guideline (June 2003)
Science and Technology, Information Literacy Standards for (June 2006)
Research Competency Guidelines for Literatures in English (DRAFT)
SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries)

Learning Outcomes and Information Literacy. 2004
Link: Comment-1: talks about outcomes. Supported and Published by The Higher Education Academy.
Comment-2: "Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education approved by the ACRL are being translated and used in several countries: in Finland, Germany and Spain" ( However, Finnish authors noted that not all parts are well suited to the Finnish university education system






Distance Learning Library Services, Guidelines for (June 2004)
Borrowing and Lending Special Collections Materials for Exhibition, Guidelines for (January 2005)
University Library Services to Undergraduate Students, Guidelines for (June 2005)



Canadian General Standards Board. Competencies of the federal government information management community. ICS 01.140.40 Committee Draft 30.20 (also CGSB-192.2?
Comments: under review until April 30, 2007 To request copies of drafts please call the CGSB Sales Centre at 819-956-0425 or 1-800-665-2472, fax at 819-956-5740 or send an e-mail to

Competencies for Information Professionals of the 21st Century. Revised edition, June 2003.
Special Libraries Association. 331 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, Virginia. 22314-3501. USA. Tel: (703) 647-4900 Fax: (703) 647-4901 Link:

SLA developed this document using a panel of university, special, college and other librarians for application or use by all librarians regardless of organization type.  This is a behaviour-based "definition" of librarian competency typical of the United States, as opposed to the holistic (European) or occupational/functional (UK) definition.

See also: LeDeist, F.D. and J. Winterton, 2005. "Competencies for Information Professionals in the 21st Century": pdf: and html:
The Professional Librarians’ Committee of CAUT has articulated guidelines and discussion papers that are of interest

In addition, CAUT itself has adopted a number of guidelines that apply to the professional lives of librarians.


ACRL Standards for Faculty Status for College and University Librarians:

 Academic Status for College and University Librarians, Guidelines for (June 2002)
 Certification & Licensing of Academic Librarians, Statement on the (June 2001)
 Appointment, Promotion and Tenure of Academic Librarians, A Guideline for (June 2005)
 Collective Bargaining, Guideline on (Jan. 2001)
 Faculty Status of College and University Librarians, Joint Statement on (June 2001)
 Faculty Status for College and University Librarians, Standards for (Jan. 2001)

 Terminal Professional Degree for Academic Librarians, Statement on the (June 2001)
 Screening & Appointment of Academic Librarians Using a Search Committee, A Guideline for the (2004)



ANSI/NISO Z39.7 - 2004, Information Services and Use: Metrics & statistics for libraries and information providers--Data Dictionary. Approved 10/06/04.

 "This standard identifies categories for basic library statistical data reported at the national level, and provides associated definitions of terms. In doing so it deals with the following areas: reporting unit and target population, human resources, collection resources, infrastructure, finances, and services. In addition, the standard identifies new measures associated with networked services, databases, and performance. The standard is not intended to be comprehensive in scope. Instead, it presents a framework for comparable library data by describing common elements pertaining to libraries of various types in the US. It does not address detailed statistics for specific areas where it seems more appropriate for experts in those areas to make recommendations (e.g., music, government documents, maps)."



International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).  “A Register of Standards, Codes of Practice, Guidelines, Recommendations and Similar Works relating to Preservation and Conservation in Libraries and Archives”

IFLA/UNESCO standards for school libraries
English version:
French version:
Networking for Digital Preservation: Current Practice in 15 National Libraries
METS - Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standard.  Library of Congress. Version 1.6 approved November 2006.

The METS schema is a standard for descriptive, administrative and structural metadata about objects in a digital library. Uses XML schema language 


The standards of most interest to librarians fall under the heading 01.140: Information sciences, publishing, in particular, sub-group 01.140.20 Information Sciences (includes documentation, librarianship and archive systems), although librarians may have an interest in sections 01.140.40 (publishing) and the major category 35 (parallel to 01) (information technology).

The ISO website is Follow the links to the ISO catalogue and browse by ICS.


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