The Oxford County Public Library was a proud recipient of a provincial achievement at last week’s Ontario Library Association Awards.
The library – encompassing all 14 branches – was presented with a Certificate of Accreditation at the gala.
Though it sounds technical, the honour speaks to the library’s success in everything from electronic materials to creating accessible spaces.
“We wanted to make sure that our house was in order,” said Lisa Miettinen, CEO of the Oxford County Library.
“It’s a very broad range of criteria. The guidelines cover governance issues, accessibility issues, programs and services, advocacy work in the community. It’s quite extensive.”
Miettinen said the library is in a continuous state of improvement, but the accreditation process provides a “good blueprint for future improvement.”
The biggest challenge for Oxford library branches – particular the smaller libraries in towns across the county – was ensuring accessibility, Miettinen said.
In later years many branches will need to look at lowering or reconfiguring some of the shelves so that books aren't out of reach for those with mobility challenges.
But there is so much to celebrate already.
“We’ve been at the forefront in terms of electronic services and digital downloads,” Miettinen said.
In the fall, for example, Oxford County Library introduced a digital service called hoopla, a Netflix-like system with all sorts of library materials.
“We’ve tried to always make sure Oxford has new products quickly, and we also have a very robust print collection,” Miettinen added.
The Certificate of Accreditation is good for five years, and then the library would need to reapply.