Draft Proposal for 2010 PAARL Standards (First Draft)

Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians (PAARL)

Standards for Academic Libraries for 2010





“Standards are not a celebration of mediocrity nor intended to provide a level of comfort by showing activities or statistics that represent a hypothetical average.  Rather, the standards provide a path, sometimes difficult, to an ideal.” – Illinois Library Association



            PAARL Standards for Academic Libraries for 2010 is a document generally intended to apply to libraries supporting academic programs at institutions of higher education, specifically, at the bachelor’s degree level (for college libraries), and master’s and doctoral degree levels (for university libraries).

            These standards are designed to help these academic libraries and their parent institutions in determining priorities and evaluating the library performance in terms of the mission and goals of the academic institutions they serve.

            While standards are needed in the evaluation of library performance, they cannot be prescriptive to apply equally to all types of academic libraries, and still be useful. Although some measures of quality and quantity are necessary to provide guidance for assessing each element of library operations and the provision of library services, and to offer guidelines for their improvements, these standards are designed for the primary need of determining and establishing measurable expectations within the context of their institutional goals. An underlying principle of this document is that each library is unique, and therefore should determine its own criteria for performance and evaluation, a process which should be undertaken within the framework of the institution's mission and goals.

            When applying these Standards, it is best to be reminded that rapid changes in information and technology in recent years involve increasing expectations. With the increase in the availability of information in multiple formats and the revolutionary changes in library operations and services, academic libraries are reasonably expected to rise above these standards.


1.  Mission, Goals and Objectives

1.1 The library should have a mission statement and goals to serve as a framework for its activities.

1.2  The library’s mission and goals should be consistent with those developed by the parent institution.

1.3 The overall mission of the academic library is to provide information services in support of the teaching, research, and public service missions of the parent institution. The primary goal of the library is to select, collect, organize, and provide access to all varieties of information for users. Library programs should be developed with that goal in mind.

1.4 The head of the library is responsible for developing short-and long-term goals and objectives in fulfillment of the library’s mission, in consultation with appropriate representatives from the following groups (whenever applicable):

Administration officials


 Library Staff


Trustees or regents

Advisory Boards

State or other governmental units associated with the institution  

1.5 A process of review and revision is required to keep the library’s mission, goals and objectives current and relevant.


2.  Administration     


2.1 The supervision and control of the academic library shall be clearly defined within the organizational structure of the parent


2.2 The library director/head should report to the president or to the appropriate chief   academic officer of the institution. The responsibilities and authority of the library director/head should be defined in writing.

2.3 The library, under its head or director, should be responsible for managing its own affairs.

2.4  This autonomy, however, only reinforces the library’s responsibility to maintain effective relationships with administration and faculty to achieve its purposes. The library should also adhere to institutional protocols, procedures, and practices as they are stated by the appropriate  agencies within the institution.

2.5 The library shall be administered and supervised by a full-time librarian with at least a master’s degree in library science and the desirable managerial skills and experience.

2.6 The college/university librarian shall have faculty or academic status, and shall participate actively, and interact with the faculty, on curricular and instructional matters, and research activities.

2.7 A library committee, comprising of representatives of the student body, the faculty, and the college or university’s administration, shall serve as an advisory body on matters pertaining to collection development and use.

2.8  The library shall maintain written policies and procedures manuals covering its internal administration and operational activities, such as a cataloging manual, circulation procedures, collection development policy, and the like, which shall be reviewed regularly.    

2.9 Through formal planning procedures and methods, such as strategic planning, the library shall formulate a development plan which shall include a program for a continued development and improvement of library resources and services. Corollary to this, it  shall maintain a systematic and continuous program for evaluating its performance, identifying and applying performance measures that will reveal the extent to which it has   been successful in fulfilling its mission. .

2.10 The college/university librarian shall submit a written annual report informing the administration and its users on its activities,  accomplishments, problems and needs, and its plan of development.


3.  Human Resources

3.1        Size of Staff

3.1.1     The library should be staffed in such a way as to meet demands and expectations. Staff size is determined by many factors, such as the programs offered, size and scope of collection, the number of buildings, separate units and service points, and the hours during which service is offered. While there are no absolute requirements, it is clear that the level of service is determined by the availability of staff.

3.1.2     The ratio of librarians to clerical and other library staff depends on the range of operations and services provided by the library  and upon its total workload requirements.     

3.2               Kinds of Staff and Qualifications

3.2.1 Library staff should include librarians and other professionals, support staff, clerks, and students to provide services at the appropriate levels.

3.2.2 Librarians and other professional staff should possess, in addition to the educational qualifications, the needed skills  and  academic training to meet the academic needs of the institution, and to provide management support. They should be given responsibilities matched to their educational competencies and work experiences.

 3.2.3 Likewise, the library support staff, such as technicians, clerks, and student assistants, should be assigned responsibilities  appropriate to their qualifications, training, experience, and capabilities.

 3.2.4 The library environment is often fragmented by the type of positions held by its personnel. To avoid possible friction within library staff, such as from the derogatory connotation of titles like "semiprofessionals" and "paraprofessionals,"  care needs to be taken to maintain good relations between the different  categories of personnel. One approach is to provide titles that recognize the diversity of positions such as Information Assistants, Media Technicians, Cataloging Technicians, Readers Assistants, Encoders, Indexers, etc. Another approach is to provide categories such as Library Aide, Library Assistant, Librarian I, II, and so on.

3.2.5 All positions in the library should be established and organized as part of a career service. Every library should have a written personnel policy with position descriptions, as well as the educational requirements for each position

3.3        Status  of Librarians

3.3.1 Librarians  shall  be  given faculty or  academic status  with corresponding privileges, compensation  and other benefits comparable or equivalent to those of the faculty members (in accordance with institutional policies).

3.3.2 Where faculty rank exists, professional librarians shall meet the same requirements for promotion and tenure as other faculty.

3.4        Recruitment, Selection, Promotion and Compensation of Staff

3.4.1 The library staff should be covered by a written policy that clearly establishes their status, rights and responsibilities, consistent with sound personnel management.  Such a policy should cover the areas of recruitment, hiring, appointment, contract renewal, promotion, tenure, dismissal, and appeal, in addition to working conditions, benefits, and other incentives.

3.4.2 The head librarian shall work in cooperation with the Personnel Office (or its equivalent) in the recruitment, screening and selection of library staff.

3.4.3 The  head  librarian  shall  conduct  an annual performance evaluation of all library personnel under his/her supervision as basis for their promotion  and corresponding salary adjustment.

3.4.4 Salary schedules should be created and should provide for regular increases, with provisions for merit increases for superior performance and continuing education recognition.

3.4.5 A benefit plan that includes social security, workers compensation, paid vacation and paid sick leave, health insurance, and retirement should be provided to all library employees as part of the compensation package given by the employing institution

 3.5        Staff Development

3.5.1 The changing complexity of library work and ongoing changes in technology mandate regular staff participation in continuing formal and informal education.

3.5.2 A continuing staff development program shall be provided with the corresponding financial assistance from the institution.  It may include formal studies in the field of library or information science or any other relevant discipline which should be consistent with  the thrust of the library, and other job-related educational programs such as in-service training, seminar-workshops, and conferences.

3.5.3 Librarians participating actively in library and other professional associations, as well as those engaging in other appropriate professional activities, should be encouraged.


4.  Financial Resources

4.1 The college/university librarian shall prepare, justify, and administer a library budget that meets the library’s objectives and the reasonable expectations of library users when balanced against other institutional needs.

4.2 The annual budget  should be between 5 to 10 % of the total operating budget of the institution. The operating budget of the library must be appropriate to the mission of the library within the university or college, and sufficient to sustain all operations, including maintenance of automated systems. If it is impossible to meet all expectations or fund specific new programs this should be made clear, and a means for setting priorities established.

4.3 The library fee shall be set at a realistic level.  It should be adequate to maintain an appropriate rate of collection development in fields pertinent to the curriculum. To sustain the library’s growth and   development,  the library fee shall be reviewed periodically and updated whenever necessary.  All library fees collected shall be used exclusively for the library’s collection development.

4.4 In addition, adequate funds shall be allocated by the institution for maintenance, replacement,  repairs, renovation and for investment in new and improved means of information access and delivery.

4.5 Where institutional funds are inadequate, other ways of augmenting the library’s financial resources shall be explored.  These include endowments and donations, and    participation in exchange programs and consortia or cooperative projects.

4.6 Any revenue generated by the library from fees and charges such as fines, payment for lost or damaged materials, computer search and printout, and from the sale of duplicate or unneeded items, shall be retained by the library, preferably in a separate fund account to be exclusively managed by the college/university librarian,  for the support of  its collections and services.

4.7 The library should utilize its financial resources efficiently and effectively It shall maintain internal accounts to monitor its income and expenses.

4.8 The library director/head should have authority to apportion funds and initiate expenditures within the library budget and in accordance with institutional policy.

4.9 The library budget should reflect the library's responsibility for acquiring, processing, servicing, and providing access to media and computer resources.

4.10 The budget should support appropriate levels of staffing and adequate staff compensation.


5.  Collections

5.1         Selection and Acquisition

 5.1.1 Collection development is the joint responsibility of the faculty and the librarian. The emphasis is on quality rather than quantity.

 5.1.2 There shall be a year-round and carefully planned program of selecting and procuring library materials. 

 5.1.3 The faculty shall actively participate in the selection of print and non-print materials especially in their area of discipline, and in developing procedures to facilitate and effectively carry out the selection and acquisition activities.

 5.1.4 The library shall define in writing the policies for collection development that will guide the selection and acquisition of materials.  Such policies shall be developed by the library in consultation with the faculty, and approved by the administration. 

 5.1.5 The library shall provide for a periodic review of its existing collection, for purposes of maintaining the quality of the collection and its continued relevance to the needs of the library’s users, and of determining collection strengths and weaknesses.


5.2         Collection Management

5.2.1 Collection management not only involves the selection and acquisition process, but also the organization and use of all materials in all formats to the level  required to support academic programs in research, teaching, and public service. 

5.2.2 Collection management also includes leasing, renting, deselection, providing access to other collections, planned resource-sharing and cooperative storage, and electronic access to databases.

5.2.3 Collection management recognizes the importance of access to resources rather on ownership.

5.2.4 The collection management programs of the library should be developed jointly by the library and the college/university, indicating the depth and breadth of the collections, as set out in an appropriate taxonomy to determine collection levels. The following levels are generally recommended:

                        0 Out of scope

                        1 Minimal information

                        2 Basic information

                        3 Study or instructional support

                        4 Research

                        5 Comprehensive

            The policies setting out this program should be in written form, and regularly reviewed.

5.2.5 Adequate funding should be provided to ensure the successful implementation of the library’s collection management programs.


5.3        Holdings

5.3.1 The  collection shall consist of quality, up-to-date and relevant resources that support the library’s mission to meet the curricular, instructional, research, and recreational needs of its clientele. 

5.3.2   Resources may be in a variety of formats, including print or hard copy, online electronic text or images, and other media. The availability of CD-ROMs, e-resources and online databases is encouraged to provide alternative options to meet the library users’ requirements, depending on the number of full-text titles/volumes contained therein.   Particular consideration shall be given to the availability of Internet services to supplement the library’s collection of information resources.

5.3.3  An initial core collection of 5,000 well-selected books for college libraries, and 10,000 titles for university libraries, usually selected with the aid of standard lists and other selection tools, is deemed necessary to meet the educational needs of students and faculty.

5.3.4  In addition to this core collection, a minimum of five (5) professional titles per student shall be provided. Recognition should be given to changes in curricular offerings, and new academic programs. Equally, recognition should be given to library contributions to consortial or other resource-sharing programs.

5.3.5  In addition to the core book collection, a core periodical collection of current and relevant titles (local and foreign) shall also be  provided. 

5.3.6 The holdings shall also include an extensive Filipiniana collection to meet the ever increasing demand of users for this type of materials.  A comprehensive acquisition of current Filipiniana titles relevant to the school’s curriculum is strongly recommended.  It is recommended that this Filipiniana collection be separated from the general collection for purposes of identity, preservation, and functionality of use.

5.3.7 As far as budget permits, the recommended ratio of volumes to combined total student population and teaching faculty should be 10:1. The recommended annual growth rate of the collection shall be maintained at five percent, and in accordance with program offerings and enrollment.

5.3.8 Even if the institution meets the above minimum requirements, it should spend the budget allocated for library materials to further develop and update its resources.

5.3.9 Collection currency and vitality should be maintained through judicious weeding. A regular deselection program shall be undertaken to keep the collection relevant and up-to-date, particularly in the fields of science and technology.  A three (3) to five (5) percent replacement of older materials each year is recommended.

5.3.10 Resources may be provided onsite or from remote storage locations, on the main campus and/or at off-campus locations.

5.3.11 The provision of textbooks is not the responsibility of the library but a maximum of five (5) copies of frequently used titles shall be provided.  In the matter of reserve books, a provision of at least one copy for every twenty-five (25) students is deemed sufficient.

5.3.12 The library should have a continuing and effective program to evaluate its collections, resources, and online databases, both quantitatively and qualitatively    


5.4        Organization and Care of Materials

5.4.1Collections  shall  be  organized to insure efficient identification and retrieval, and to provide maximum intellectual and physical accessibility to the library and its resources  The  books  shall  be   catalogued  and classified according to an accepted standard of bibliographic description, and a system of classification, like the Dewey Decimal System or that of the Library of Congress. Periodicals shall be indexed.

5.4.2 The catalog shall be in a format (card or electronic) that permits concurrent or simultaneous use by users of the library. In  addition  to  the  catalog,  there should  also be subordinate files, such as subject authority files, shelflists, serial holdings lists, indexes, and the like, for bibliographic control  and intellectual access to all library materials.

5.4.3 The library shall provide its own cataloging manual of policies and procedures.

 5.4.4 The library shall  have  a  program for the care and preservation of its own collection.  It should have adequate safeguards against damage, loss, mutilation, and theft, if it is to serve  its primary  goal of  making its collection available  to its users. To reduce loss and damage, the library should exercise appropriate control over use and borrowing.

 5.4.5 The library should have a counter-disaster plan to cover minor and major disasters to include both damage prevention and damage recovery.    


6.  Services

6.1 The services provided by the library shall be clearly related to the purposes of the institution.  Generally,  the library should provide a variety of services that support and expand the instructional, research and extension service capabilities of the institution.

6.2 The library’s services shall be designed to promote and facilitate efficient and effective use of  its materials in all formats by all of the library’s clientele.

6.3 Services offered by the library shall include reference and information services, which are available at adequately identified and designated points during established service hours.

6.4 User instruction shall be provided as specialized and in-depth assistance to all levels of users from freshmen to faculty on the use of the library’s resources. The library staff should seek to assist users in finding needed material and developing appropriate search strategies. through a variety of services, such as course-related or course- integrated instruction, hands-on active learning, orientations, formal courses, tutorials,  pathfinders, and web-based instruction.

6.5 As an academic unit within the institution, the library should encourage lifelong learning, by applying new techniques and technologies with the traditional methods of information retrieval, evaluation and documentation.  Librarians should collaborate frequently with classroom faculty; participate in curriculum planning, as well as in information literacy instruction

6.6 The library should ensure optimal access to its own collections and to needed resources available elsewhere by developing, maintaining, and making available for use access tools such as catalogs, indexes, and other information resources.

6.7 The rules and regulations for the use of the library and its collections should be readily accessible to users.  Terms of loan and access to the library’s information resources for all user categories shall be described.  Circulation procedures shall be effective and  efficient.

6.8  Majority of the stock in the library’s collection shall be readily available for lending, and shall be available to authorized clientele within the context of the library’s purpose, goals and objectives. The library should check collection availability at regular intervals.

6.9 The hours of access to the library shall be consistent with reasonable demand.

6.10 The library should participate in programs for the sharing of bibliographic data.

6.11 The library should strive, as far as possible, to enhance information access through networking, resource sharing, online information services, interlibrary loan activities and document-delivery services to provide access to materials not owned by the library . The rules and conditions relating to these programs and services should be clearly explained. Where   charges are required, or where restrictions apply, this should be made clear to potential users.

6.12 Distance learning programs should be promoted by means of remote electronic access to   collections, the provision of reliable network connections, and through electronic transmission or courier delivery of library materials to remote users.


7.  Facilities

7.1        Site / Location and Design

7.1.1 The library shall provide well-planned, secure, and sufficient space to meet the perceived needs of staff and users and to meet the housing requirements of its collections including space for automated services in a properly controlled environment. In addition, provision for future expansion should be made.

7.1.2 To fulfill its service missions, the library should be close to the center of campus activity. The college library can be a part of a building provided it is accessible to the academic community of the institution.

                        For a university,  it  is  highly desirable  to  have a  separate  building for the exclusive use of the library and other related activities.  The building  shall  also  be centrally located within the campus. 

7.1.3 The librarian shall be consulted in planning the site/location of  the library, its building design, and other architectural/spatial details. (Specific details  include layout of the buildings, light, ventilation, temperature and humidity control, stacks, exhibit areas, and number of reader stations.)

7.1.4 The   facilities  shall   be  attractive and ergonomically designed  to  provide safety and comfort, and to promote operational efficiencies and effectiveness of  use.

7.1.5  Suitable  space   for staff  workroom,  offices, and lounge  should be available. 

7.2        Space Requirement

 7.2.1 The size of the library building shall take into account the size of its total user population, the extent and nature of its collection, and the size of its staff.

 7.2.2 Notwithstanding the provision under 7.2.1,  special consideration is given to libraries with automated systems or other library applications of advanced information technology.

7.3.       Furniture and Equipment

 7.3.1 Standard library furniture and equipment shall be provided for the storage and retrieval purposes of library materials.

 7.3.2 Necessary equipment to access information and to assist instruction should be available, when and where they are needed.  These equipment should be efficiently managed and maintained. 

 7.3.3 The library shall have facilities for information technology and communication services. It shall provide sufficient numbers of appropriately capable computer workstations for access to electronic resources. In addition, it should provide appropriate equipment in adequate quantities and in good working order for the convenient, efficient consultation, retrieval or dissemination of local and remote   information resources by the library staff and its patrons. This includes such IT and communications equipment as computers with Internet connectivity, printers, scanners, webcams, fax machines, and other electronic communications equipment.

7.4        Provisions for Reading Comfort

 7.4.1 The library should be adequately lighted, properly ventilated, and acoustically suited for quiet reading.

 7.4.2 It should be aesthetically attractive and properly maintained.

 7.4.3 Special provisions should be made for the physically handicapped or people with disabilities..

7.5        Control and Security Measures

 7.5.1 Control and security measures shall be provided for safeguarding the library and its collections. These security measures include:  provision for ample aisles, emergency exits/escape doors, fire extinguishers, and screened windows. 

 7.5.2 Likewise,  if feasible, provision shall also be made for emergency warning device, hiring of security personnel, installation of monitoring camera, and electronic  surveillance system. 

 7.5.3 Guidelines on safety and disaster preparedness should be established and  implemented.


8.  Linkages and Networking

 8.1 The Library exists within a network of relationships extending beyond the institution. In cooperation with other libraries, consortia, networks, vendors, and other agencies, the library should participate in programs that will assist it in meeting its goals and are consistent with the mission of the university.

8.2  As far as possible, the library shall get involved in professional activities, regional, national or international, participate in resource sharing or networking activities, and utilize cooperative library programs to enhance its resources and services and to reduce operating costs.

8.3  The library should strive, as far as possible, to enhance information access through networking and linkages, and online information services.

8.4 Interlibrary loan activities and document-delivery services shall be encouraged for the purpose of increasing resources, providing access to materials not owned by the library, and extending cooperation with other libraries.