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South Dakota State Library Services

A list of services provided by the South Dakota State Library.

Voluntary Accreditation for Public Libraries

 Accreditation is about the library.                               


Applications are being accepted until 5 pm CT, December 1, 2023.

The purpose of the voluntary accreditation program for public libraries in South Dakota is to encourage the ongoing development of quality library service. South Dakota Public Library Standards is a self-evaluation tool. These standards are intended to:

  • Provide a tool to assess the quality of library service
  • Identify areas needing improvement
  • Aid libraries in gaining maximum community support

Accreditation applications are accepted every year. They may be submitted September through the first Friday of December. Specific dates will be announced via listservs. Applications are reviewed and decisions made by the end of December.

Applicants will be notified after January 1st of the following year. Accreditation is good for three years, January through December.

The manual below is divided into three sections by level of accreditation:

  • ESSENTIAL — the minimum which should be available to all
  • ENHANCED — an expansion of services beyond the basic
  • EXEMPLARY — the highest level of service

Each section is then divided into the following categories:

  • Governance
  • Administration
  • Access
  • Collections and Resources
  • Funding
  • Staffing
  • Technology
  • Public Relations

Each standard is presented as a statement, allowing the library to easily determine whether it meets or does not meet the criteria.


Applications are being accepted until 5 pm CT, December 1, 2023.

Accreditation applications are accepted every year. They may be submitted September through the first Friday of December. Specific dates will be announced via listservs. Applications are reviewed and decisions made by the end of December

Applicants will be notified after January 1st of the following year. Accreditation is good for three years, January through December.

Library accreditations reflect three calendar years.


Beresford Public Library Beresford 2025 Enhanced
Bowdle Public Library Bowdle 2025 Essential
Brookings Public Library Brookings 2025 Exemplary
Canton Public Library Canton 2023 Essential
Cozard Memorial Library Chamberlain 2024 Essential
Custer County Library Custer 2023 Exemplary
Doland Community Library Doland 2025 Essential
Edith B. Siegrist Vermillion Public Library Vermillion 2025 Exemplary
Emil M. Larson Library Clark 2025 Essential
Freeman Public Library Freeman 2025 Essential
Grace Balloch Memorial Library Spearfish 2025 Exemplary
Grant County Library Milbank 2024 Essential
Gregory Public Library  Gregory 2024 Essential
Grossenburg Memorial, Tripp County Library Winner 2023 Enhanced
Hill City Community Library Hill City 2024 Exemplary
Huron Public Library Huron 2025 Essential
Keystone Town Library Keystone 2025 Essential
Lennox Community Library Lennox 2024 Essential
Mitchell Public Library Mitchell 2025 Essential
North Sioux City Community Library North Sioux City 2025 Essential
Piedmont Valley Library Piedmont 2023 Essential
Potter County Free Library Gettysburg 2024 Enhanced
Rapid City Public Library Rapid City 2025 Exemplary
Rawlins Municipal Library Pierre 2023 Exemplary
Wall Community Library Wall 2023 Essential
Watertown Regional Library Watertown 2024 Exemplary
Yankton Community Library Yankton 2024 Enhanced


Below are messages from our Monthly Email Tips Series posted to the public library directors listserv.

January: Public Library Accreditation – The Basics

What is it?

Public Library Accreditation is a VOLUNTARY program in which libraries review a list of standards and evaluate the library based on those standards. These standards are intended to:

  • Provide a tool to assess the quality of library service
  • Identify areas needing improvement
  • Aid libraries in gaining maximum community support

Libraries are accredited for three years at one of three levels: Essential, Enhanced, Exemplary. Accredited libraries have to have certified library directors. The application period opens every September and closes in December. Libraries apply using the Public Library Survey portal. Certificates are awarded in a special ceremony at Library Legislative Day the following January or February.

Learn all about Accreditation/Certification by visiting

Here is a handy checklist for you as you go through the application process

February: Public Library Accreditation – Trustee Continuing Education

The voluntary library accreditation application doesn’t open until September, but it’s not too soon to prepare. We get a lot of questions about meeting the continuing education (CE) requirements for library board members. Here are some guidelines to help your trustees share the responsibility. Public library trustees sign on to lead the library by setting policy, engaging in strategic planning, and optimizing the library’s budget. This is an important job!

How to meet trustee CE requirements for accreditation:

Trustees have a three-year period over which they can earn CE hours.

CE hours must be earned by two or more trustees—but all library board members should participate.

For libraries preparing to apply for the Enhanced and Exemplary levels, only a portion of CE hours can be done online.

Please note: You cannot count the library director’s CE hours toward this requirement. Directors’ training hours go toward certification—a separate requirement toward accreditation.

CE requirements:

Essential level: 15 hours

Enhanced level: 30 hours (15 of which must be F2F)

Exemplary level: 45 hours (15 of which must be F2F)

Sharing the responsibility:

If five trustees agree to earn CE hours over the course of three years then the workload for each trustee is as follows:

Essential level: 1 hour per year, per trustee

Enhanced level: 2 hours per year, per trustee

Exemplary level: 3 hours per year, per trustee

You can see that it’s not that much, if you break it down.

How to earn F2F hours:

One trustee can earn approximately 14 hours of CE credit by attending one of the 2-day SDLA annual conferences.

Kathleen can give you more ideas on how your trustees can earn F2F training hours throughout the year.

The State Library provides many opportunities for earning CE hours online. Visit the SDSL Training Opportunities webpage for some ideas

March: Public Library Accreditation – SD Library Training Institute

In Appendix A of the Public Library Accreditation Standards document, you will notice mention of the SD Library Training Institute. What is it and how does it relate to accreditation?

One of the requirements for a library to be accredited is that the library director be certified at the required level. See #15 of the document:

15. The library has a permanent, paid director who is, or will be within two years of hire, certified at the required level, or who is actively enrolled in a program leading to the required certification. (See Appendix A)

You will learn more about library director certification next month, but Public Library Institute is one way that a library director may meet those certification requirements.

Public Library Training Institute is a four-year program of continuing education for South Dakota-based library practitioners, support staff and trustees of small public libraries. The program requires week-long attendance at a host university in June and selected online coursework during the fall and winter months in between the June sessions. No prior formal library science education, or previous college attendance, is required to attend.

Institute participants can start the program at any point in the curriculum, but must complete a four-year program of continuing education that includes on-campus and off-campus requirements in seven (7) years. Institute instructors provide in-depth classes in: the foundations of public library service; public library administration; services to the public; collections; cataloging and metadata; technology; as well as other current topics. Students earn college credit from the host university, and after completion of the program, are recognized as certified public library practitioners.

Scholarships to this program are limited and also based on need. 

April: Public Library Accreditation – Library Director Certification

Last month you learned about SD Public Library Training Institute, which can be used to meet one of the requirements of public library accreditation - that the library director be certified at the required level. Did you miss it? Read it at “Monthly Reminders”

The SD State Library recognizes public library directors and staff who update their knowledge and skills on a continuing basis. The goals of this program are to help library directors and staff acquire and maintain skills in order to provide better library service to their communities. Certificates are awarded during the annual SDLA conference in September. An individual's certification is valid for three (3) years. To renew at the same level requires 30 contact hours of continuing education during that 3-year period.

Library director certification starts with knowing the “population served” by your library. Based on that, you will know whether to apply for Grade I, Grade II, or Grade III certification.

See for all of the requirements as well as documents needed. Visit for all of the information on certification as well as a current list of certified library directors in SD.

May: Public Library Accreditation – How to evaluate programs

If you are applying for Accreditation for the first time, or renewing at the same or another level, you may be required to provide proof that you are regularly evaluating library programs. See Enhanced (#42) or Exemplary (#66) of the Public Library Standards document. If you are renewing at the Enhanced level, you will need to provide three evaluations (one per year over the three year renewal period). If you are renewing at Exemplary level, you will need to provide nine evaluations (three programs per year over the three year renewal period). The SDSL staff has made it easy for you by providing an example of a program evaluation document in Appendix C (page 16) of the Public Library Standards document.

June: Public Library Accreditation – Policy reviews & where to find sample policies

If you are applying for Enhanced or Exemplary status, you will need to provide proof that you are regularly reviewing and updating your library policies (#36 on the standards document). Every library should be doing this, even if not applying for Accreditation. It takes only 10-15 minutes at your board meeting to bring one or two policies before the board to review. If you make it a practice to do this at every board meeting, then it becomes routine and you do not have to review the entire policy manual in one sitting. Does anyone really want to do that? Of course not!

How many policies do I need and where do I find examples? The number of policies depends on your library and the amount of activity happening there. Take a look at the SD State Library LibGuides page on Library Boards & Trustees to learn about what should be contained in a policy manual, some suggested library policies, and policy examples from different libraries.  

July: Public Library Accreditation - Reviewing library bylaws & what they should include

All public libraries should have written bylaws that outline the library board’s purpose and operational procedures (#6 on the Public Library Standards document). Bylaws are organizational rules for conducting the library’s business. A bylaws document is essential for avoiding internal disputes. It is the responsibility of your library’s board to establish its own library bylaws. Your library most likely has its bylaws recorded somewhere, but when was the last time they were revisited? The Public Library Standards document (item #35) requires that library bylaws are reviewed at least every three years.

What should be included in your library’s bylaws?

Library bylaws should indicate which SD public library statute guides the appointment of the board. Bylaws also lay out the schedule for regular meetings, meeting procedures, requirements of a quorum, and duties of officers. When writing or reviewing your library’s bylaws, keep in mind that library board meetings are open to the public therefore are subject to the South Dakota Open Meetings Law. Be aware that some provisions to the Open Meetings Law have been revised in recent years. That’s all the more reason to review your library’s bylaws.

You can find sample library board bylaws and more information about open meetings on the State Library’s LibGuides page for Library Board Meetings

August: Public Library Accreditation – Evaluating the director & where to find sample evaluation forms

Just as employees of any organization are subject to a yearly review, the library director also needs to be evaluated. Although the governing body (city, county, etc) may do a review, the library board is required to complete a review of the director to achieve accreditation at the exemplary level (#61 of the standards document

The state library does not require a copy of the actual evaluation, but a copy of the minutes of the meeting where the director was evaluated needs to be included with the accreditation application.

Need some ideas on what to include on a director evaluation? Visit the resources below. - from our neighbors in Iowa

Some evaluation templates provided by the American Library Association:

September: Public Library Accreditation - saw you at conference!
October: Public Library Accreditation - Non-resident fees

Do you serve people in your broader community who do not pay property taxes and thus do not support the public library they use? If so, you might want to think about charging a user’s fee for nonresidents who do not support the library with their tax dollars. This fee would be in lieu of taxes, not an additional tax. Every public library should have a policy in place which protects your tax-paying citizens. It should be a written, board approved policy with a reasonable fee put in place and re-evaluated every couple of years.

Even a minimal fee still makes the point that library services are not really “free” in the sense that someone has to pick up the tab. The shared responsibility of financially supporting the operations of a library—utilities, building, technology, materials, resources, databases, books, magazines, games, staffing, etc. is a shared burden by the citizens of a specific locale.

A fee policy accomplishes several important things:

  • It opens up the library to users beyond the limitations of the community tax base,
  • It increases the value of the public library,
  • It creates public awareness that it is a publicly funded service and not “free” in the sense that it takes money to keep a library open and operational,
  • It wards against user abuse or misunderstandings,
  • Such a policy protects tax payers, who have a financial and emotional vested interest in that particular library,
  • It reimburses the library for resources and services used by nonresidents, and
  • It legally protects the library board.

Average cost of doing business

You can figure out how much each citizen pays for library services by taking your most recent total annual library expenditures and divide that sum by the total number of citizens in your city (or county if you have a county system). That will give you the actual amount your library needs in tax support from each local citizen to operate at your current level.

Something to think about

The important thing to take away is that it is vital for each library board to write, approve and have in place a user’s policy and more specifically, a nonresident (however you define it) user’s fee policy. Even if you choose to not charge anyone living beyond your defined boundaries, it is a very wise practice to have a written policy stating why you do not charge nonresidents (non-tax payers) for library usage. One example would be where the municipal library receives from the county commissioners a healthy contribution of county funds to its annual budget.

November: Public Library Accreditation - Collection Development Selection Tools

If you are applying for Enhanced level of Accreditation, you will need to supply the title of at least one selection tool that is used to purchase materials for the library. This is addressed in #52.  

The West Virginia Library Commission has put together a nice list of tools you can use for collection development. These can be found at

If you don’t subscribe to Booklist, Library Journal, or other subscription resources, you can use the SDSL databases, at In the EBSCOhost collection, you can search the Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts database, or do a general search in Academic Search Premier, EBSCO MegaFILE, or MasterFILE Premier.

December: Public Library Accreditation - Technology Plans

Are you applying for Enhanced or Exemplary status? Then you need a Technology Plan (#54). A copy of the plan is required as well as proof of the board meeting minutes where the plan is reviewed annually.

Appendix C of the Standards Manual describes the elements of a technology plan and a template of what a plan could look like. Webjunction has some resources for technology planning at You can also ask similarly sized SD libraries to share a copy of their technology plan if they have one.

Voluntary Certification for Public Library Staff



            Certification is about the person (library director and staff).  




Deadline for all paperwork and application is by 5 pm CT on the first Friday in September. Please scan and email the application and supporting documents.  Application for 2023 is closed.  Late submissions will be filed for 2024.

The State Library recognizes public library directors and staff who update their knowledge and skills on a continuing basis. The goals of this program are to help library directors and staff acquire and  maintain skills in order to provide better library service to their communities.

Certificates are awarded by the SD State Library during the fall SDLA conference.

  • The deadline for applications is September of each year. Watch the listservs for specific dates.  Deadline is 5 pm September 1, 2023
  • Certificates will be awarded at the SD Library Association Annual Conference or sent through the mail.
  • An individual's certification is valid for three (3) years.
  • To renew at the same level will require 30 contact hours of continuing education during that 3-year period.

Applicants must supply a diploma, transcripts, and/or approved contact hours form (below) for SDSL committee approval.

CERTIFIED LIBRARY DIRECTORS & LIBRARY STAFF: renewal year is three years from last year awarded

Tammy Alexander

2018, 2021 Director 3
Melanie Argo 2017, 2019, 2022 Staff 1
Angela Bailey 2018, 2021 Staff 1
Sherry Bauman 2013, 2017, 2018, 2021 Director 3
Shawn Behrends 2022 Staff 1
Rhonda Behrens 2019, 2022 Director 2
Stephanie Bents 2013, 2015, 2018, 2021 Staff 1
Kim Bonen 2019, 2022 Staff 1
Kendra Brewer 2022 Staff 1
Leslie Brondsema 2020, 2022 Staff 1
Audrea Buller 2018, 2021 Director 3
Daniel Burniston 2017, 2020 Director 1
Misti Burns 2020, 2021 Director 2
Victoria Caine 2021 Staff 1
Raven Christman 2017, 2019, 2022 Director 3
Annie Crist 2019, 2022 Staff 2
Terri Davis 2019, 2022 Director 1
Joshua Easter 2017, 2019, 2022 Staff 3
Tara Engel 2019, 2022 Director 3
Teri Ewalt 2013, 2016, 2018, 2021 Director 3
Crystal Gering-Nelson 2022 Staff 3
Nita Gill 2013, 2016, 2018, 2021 Staff 1
Brenda Hemmelman 2022 Staff 1
Melissa Hutmacher 2013, 2017, 2018, 2021 Director 3
Ester Johannesen 2020 Director 3
Kristi Jones 2014, 2017, 2019, 2022 Director 2
Sarah Jones-Lutter 2020 Director 1
Stephanie Kaitfors 2018, 2021 Staff 1
Michelle Kass 2021 Director 3
LeAnn Kaufman 2010, 2014, 2017, 2019, 2022 Director 3
Kevin Kenkel 2020 Director 1
Kallie Kronberg 2016, 2018, 2021 Director 3
Jennifer Littlefield 2020 Staff 1
Glenda Maxted 2018, 2021 Staff 2 
Nina Mentzel 2022 Staff 1
Sean Minkel 2014, 2017, 2019, 2022 Staff 1
Brittany Moeller 2021 Director 2
Shayna Monnens 2013, 2016, 2018, 2021 Staff 1
Sarah Myers 2021 Staff 1
Wendy Nilson 2014, 2017, 2019, 2022 Staff 1
Natasha Noethlich 2021 Director 3
Jane Norling 2011, 2014, 2017, 2019, 2022 Director 3
Zackery North 2020 Staff 1
Mary Jo Parker 2015, 2017, 2020 Director 2
Jean Patrick 2021 Staff 1
Shawna Przybycien 2018, 2021 Staff 3
Amanda Raiche 2017, 2020 Staff 1
Jan Riggins 2019, 2022 Staff 3
Cassandra Rogers 2021 Staff 3
Patti Ruby 2021 Director 2
Lydia Schnaible 2018, 2021 Director 3
Robin Scott 2017, 2019, 2022 Director 3
George Seamon 2022 Director 1
Sarah Shoop 2019, 2022 Director 2
Kathleen Slocum 2022 Staff 1
Amy Smith 2019, 2022 Director 3
Nancy Swenson 2018, 2021 Staff 1
Thea Teasley 2019, 2022 Staff 3
Mary Terrones 2022 Director 2
Tara Thomas 2022 Director 3
Joanne Urban 2022 Staff 3
Barbara Vander Vorst 2016, 2018, 2021 Director 3
Court Weck 2022 Staff 1
Lyle Weekly 2018, 2021 Director 3
Sara Weishaar 2020 Staff 3
Liane Welte 2018, 2021 Director 3
Amber Wilde 2011, 2015, 2017, 2020 Director 1
Tammy Wollschlager 2018, 2021 Staff 3
Tracy Zylstra 2018, 2021 Director 3