Programs and client satisfaction standards

Last updated:  31 May 2024



To provide the community with a range of activities, events and programs.

A library program is an ongoing series or sequence of activities provided by library staff or library staff in partnership with other community or business organisations and usually related to a particular library service, library collection or population demographic for example:  

  • children’s literacy programs including storytimes
  • homework help
  • book discussion groups or reading clubs  
  • technology tutoring  
  • learning activities related to library user education programs  
  • English language conversation classes  
  • parent education seminars.  

Library programs are usually delivered in library buildings but can be conducted in other community spaces e.g. schools, senior citizens centres etc.  

A library event is a ‘one off’ activity or performance or occasion that is usually held in the library and is usually related to a library program, thus targeting sections of the library’s community of users, for example:

  • musical performance
  • trivia night
  • book week activities
  • teddy bears’ picnic  
  • Christmas carols in the library
  • celebrating local community festivals.  

General guidelines for library programs are presented in G20. Programs

S17. Library programs

<10,0001 preschool storytime per week
10,000 – 30,000

preschool storytime offered more than once per week 
baby/toddler storytime also offered

1 library program suitable for adults or seniors or culturally diverse community, per week  

1 user education program offered more than once per week

30,001 – 50,000

preschool storytime offered more than once per week  

baby/toddler storytime also offered

young persons’ library program on regular basis

library program suitable for adults or seniors or culturally diverse community

reader/customer education library program offered more than once per week

50,000+a mix of library programs to meet population demographics and other variables, particularly staff skills; some offered more than once per week

Variables to consider

  • size of library — for larger library services replication of some library programs in some or all branches may be appropriate
  • size and composition of community demographics
  • physical spaces in library buildings that can accommodate groups
  • IT equipment that can accommodate group learning
  • library staff skills
  • community and business organisations appropriate for relevant partnerships
  • activities provided by other similar community organisations
  • age appropriateness of programming

Best practice for preschool programming is specified in Early Literacy Framework.

Satisfaction with library services


To ascertain library customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction with library services.

The aim is to suggest a single, simple measure of satisfaction which NSW libraries can use for comparison with each other, or for identifying trends over time.

This is not the only measure of satisfaction that libraries will employ. Libraries and councils collect information and monitor their performance against a variety of user satisfaction measures for their own management purposes and to reflect the consultation or planning processes they have undertaken. When seeking such feedback, surveys and questions are usually purpose-designed, and thus are beyond the scope of this standards document.

Additional discussion of qualitative measures is presented in G21. Qualitative Data Collection; see also G22. Customer service

S18. Satisfaction with library services

Percentage of library users who view their library service as ‘good’ or ‘very good’

Question: Do you view the library service as:

  • Very good
  • Good
  • Adequate
  • Poor
  • Very poor

Suggested target: 95% of survey sample respond ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Measurement parameters

It is recommended that a survey is conducted every two years.

The State Library of NSW provides a survey template with model survey questions that are recommended for use by NSW public libraries to survey users about their experience of library services.

This tool for measuring library user satisfaction was developed in close consultation with library managers and staff across the NSW public library network.

Download the template: Library User Satisfaction Survey: a model for NSW public libraries

Evidence base

The evidence base for the target figures is derived from the NSW Public Library Statistics and additional data collected annually in the statistical return and statement of library operations.  

In this update 2022/23 statistics are used with data submitted by councils as at 30 June 2023 and per capita calculations based on ABS population figures for June 2022.