Policy development is a hard enough task to begin with, so simplify your starting point. Design a standard policy format and process — a “policy development template.” This will not only improve policy organization and make it easier to seek out policies, reference and update them — it will also make it easier for library staff and patrons to understand them.
Additionally, it will ease the pathway for those who write the policies.
Example “Policy Development Template”:
First, answer the following questions . . .
Step 1:Why do you need to create a policy?
Step 2: Do you already have a similar policy which just needs to be updated or modified?
Step 3: Do you have a specific person (such as a “Policy Chair”) designated to draft a policy, to do policy research (such as looking through LTA’s Policy Database), and to check state/federal laws?
Once the previous steps have been completed, it should be easier to move on to the actual writing of the policy.
Written to the right, is a commonly used template to help organize thoughts, and to help compose a strong, coherent policy:
Commonly suggested tips:
- The same policy template should be used for each policy that is created.
- Language used should be concise, simple and consistent (e.g. If a collection development policy refers to “weeding,” it shouldn’t be called “de-selection” in a different policy).
- Each policy should look similar in appearance (including font, font size, heading sizes, etc.)
- Policies should be organized by a table of contents in a hierarchy and grouped with policies in the same general category.
- Use policy numbers to help show relationships (e.g. A personnel policy might be titled “3.1 Duties of a Library Director,” while the next might be titled “3.2 Evaluation of a Library Director”).
- All policies should be able to stand on their own and each policy should start on separate page to help aid understanding, enforcement, retrieval and updating.