Harper Woods Public Library

Loading palette preview Loading

Library of Michigan Award

Description of library award

Lansing, October 2 -

The History and Philosophy of the Quality Services Audit Checklist

The Library of Michigan developed the Quality Service Audit Checklist
 in order to create an education tool on library financing and a common
 vision of where to take library service in the 21st Century.  The QSAC
 measures may be used as part of strategic planning and as examples of
 where and how your library can grow and improve.
The role of the QSAC program was summed up in a quote by Bob Raz, the
 QSAC Committee Coordinator and the retired director of the Grand Rapids
 Public Library:

"Through these (QSAC) standards, librarians and trustees will
 understand the need for quality service and know the realistic costs. They will
 be able to articulate their needs to garner the support to provide the
 quality services the public deserves . . . and they will not be

The QSAC measures may be used as an advocacy tool for any library,
 regardless of size or funding level, and can be very useful to educate
 staff, trustees, local authorities, state legislators and local
 communities.  They can show what has been achieved with current funding, and what
 could be possible if that support was increased. 

The QSAC committee believed that the formation of the statewide quality
 measures would:

• give libraries credibility for achieving measurable service levels
 and display the achievements that were made with their current funding

• articulate a shared vision of a solid base level of library service
 across the state – Upper or Lower Peninsula; rural or urban;
 well-funded or less supported – and supply a mechanism to garner increased
 support to fund additional services and programs

• provide library supporters with an educational tool for library
 staff and boards, government officials and the general public to inspire
 the improvement of service throughout the state

• provide a baseline for solid core services that every library
 should be able to attain and an explanation for justified increases in
 funding to achieve the next level

The measures were developed under the premise that the guidelines be: 

• customer-focused

• easy-to-understand
• measurable

• incentive-driven

• results-based

• and not overly burdensome that they crush good intentions

The measures are divided into three levels, Essential, Enhanced, and
 Excellent. The Library of Michigan believes that this division solves the
 issue of creating guidelines that are able to motivate all size and
 types of libraries, from the smallest and least-funded, to the largest
 and wealthiest.

A basic explanation of each QSAC level:

Level I – Essential  Services

Essential Services are the basics of all library service. They are
 relatively low-cost standards that every library can and should achieve.
 They are helpful to libraries starting out (example: after a renovation),
 and a review for those that are long-established. They encompass the
 fundamentals of good community service.

Level II – Enhanced Services 

Enhanced Services are more of a stretch to achieve. They may require
 more funding, and start where the Essential Level leaves off.

Level III – Excellent Services 

Enhanced Excellent Services call for the highest level of service
 obtainable. They are a stretch for any library and require funding and the
 commitment to provide superb service in every way.

The Library of Michigan believes that the formation of the QSAC
 measures has helped define what the essential services for libraries are –
 the basics that all outlets should offer – and provided an outline to
 help communities make great strides toward making measurable and
 achievable steps to great service for 21st Century libraries.  We hope that
 you agree and that you are inspired to help your library reach the
 highest level.

 * Information for this story was provided by the Library of Michigan
 and the Quality Services Audit Checklist Formation Committee.  Revised