The Regional Library System is composed of nine multi-county regions serving 211 small and medium-sized public libraries throughout the state of Tennessee. Membership in the Regional Library System is voluntary. The four metropolitan library systems (Memphis Public Library, Knox County Library, Nashville Public Library, and the Chattanooga- Hamilton County Bicentennial Public Library) are considered single-county regions.
State assistance received by local public libraries through the Regional Library System is intended to supplement local appropriations as required in the establishment of public libraries by the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 10, Chapter 3. In return for State assistance, each public library desiring to belong to the Multi-County Regional system must maintain “the allocation of locally appropriated funds at a level not less than the amount appropriated the last fiscal year as well as the expenditure of locally appropriated funds at a level not less than the total amount expended in the last fiscal year.” Annual Maintenance of Effort agreements between the State Library and Archives and local cities and counties make certain that State funding does not supplant the fiscal responsibility of local governments on behalf of their public libraries.
Services to Public Libraries
Through its Planning and Development Section, the Tennessee State Library and Archives provides assistance, statewide consultation, and leadership to local public libraries throughout the state in the areas of
- library construction
- cataloging and interlibrary loan
- legal issues
- continuing education
Network Services Program: The Network Services Program was established in 1997 to provide technical leadership and perform information systems technical support work of advanced difficulty to public libraries. The Network Services Consultants determine current and future technology requirements through research and library interviews; plan and implement network developments and upgrades accordingly; install and upgrade microcomputer hardware and software; consult with library personnel in assessing information systems planning and physical facility planning; develop training aides and materials appropriate for public and regional library staff members and plan, organize and conduct basic and advanced training sessions in both classroom and on-site settings.
Public library standards provide specific criteria by which libraries can be measured and evaluated. They provide focus and direction for action and accountability within local library communities. The newly revised 2013 Tennessee Standards for Non-Metropolitan Libraries should be beneficial to all Tennessee public libraries and the people they serve.
Adjustments and additions to the standards were made in order to reflect the changes in library operations and services since the previous version. Most significantly, benchmarks from the Edge Initiative have been added to update our approach to technology and related issues in Tennessee Libraries. The Edge benchmarks have been footnoted in the text.
The Tennessee Standards for Non-Metropolitan Libraries is based on the following criteria:
- Each library should strive to meet the standards for its own level, as well as for the levels beneath it.
- Libraries wishing to achieve a standard of excellence should target the standards of the next level above its own.
- These standards reflect average, achievable current conditions in Tennessee public libraries. These standards do not address the special characteristics of the four metropolitan public libraries in Tennessee, nor do they address the optimum configuration for county library systems.