Certificate of Public Librarianship

The Certificate of Public Librarianship is designed for individuals without formal library training who are directing small Vermont public libraries. Other library staff, volunteers, and trustees may pursue certification. However, they could find it difficult to complete the requirements in the five years allowed.

Certification is achieved through attending 150 credits worth of workshops and courses. For further details on the Certificate of Public Librarianship program please read the following information and contact Continuing Education with any questions.

Background

The Certificate of Public Librarianship has been directed for the last 25 years by the Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB) and the Certification Board. The program is designed to meet the Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries which state that the library director, "possesses a library science degree, a Vermont certificate of library training, or has actively worked toward one of these in the past twelve months." This standard refers specifically to the head librarian of a library.

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Basics of Certification

A Certificate of Public Librarianship is awarded upon completion of 150 credits. These credits are accumulated through participation in classes offered by the Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB) and/or approved public librarianship courses offered by other organizations. Candidates may substitute credits from an independent study or internship project for course work with approval.   

Records related to an individual's credits are maintained by VTLIB. Credits are recorded from workshop attendence sheets in consultation with the instructor. 

School Library Media Specialist certification and Public Librarianship certification are not equivalent or interchangeable. Each case of a school librarian wishing to obtain public library certification will be considered individually. At a minimum, school librarians will be required to attend classes on collection development and public library administration. 

No other state automatically accepts Vermont's certification. In turn, Vermont does not automatically accept certification by other states. Each case is reviewed on an individual basis. Some states require certification of public librarians but this is not the case in Vermont.

Anyone who has completed all program requirments by May 1st will be awarded a Certificate of Public Librarianship at that year's Vermont Library Conference. At any time of the year, if you are eligible for certification, you may request a letter for the Certification Board Chair stating that a preliminary review of their records indicates all requirements have been met, but the official certificate will not be awarded until the conference.

Once you have received the Certificate of Public Librarianship you are not required to become recertified on an annual basis. However, librarians are encouraged to continue their training with additional classes and workshops. 

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Credit Requirements

To be certified, you much accumalate 150 hours of credits within five years. The credits needed to obtain certification are generally based on the number of hours spent in a course or workship. If the course or workshop was not taught by the Vermont Department of Libraries credit must be requested from the Certification Board Chair. Credits will not ordinarily be given for the same workshop, even if taken several years apart. 

Four basic course types are required as part of the certification program. These courses are taught by the Department on a rotating basis by location and year. They are:

  • Cataloging and organization of library materials
  • Reference
  • Public library administration
  • Collection development

Additionally, 10 credits need to be from courses in library information technology.

Credit for workshops will not be given simply for attendance. Each attendee must participate actively and complete all assignments to the instructor's satisfaction. In the event that no credit is awarded, a letter to this effect will go to the participant with a copy to his or her Board of Trustees.

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Classes and Workshops

Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB)

The Department teaches a variety of classes. One-day workshops are assigned five credits. Multi-day workshops are assigned credits according to attendence. In general, with the exception of the first day, each additional day of class counts towards an additional five credits. If you only attend the first day of training no credit will be given. Credit will not be given toward completion of a required subject for less than four days of attendance. 

The Department of Libraries offers a variety of workshops designed for the untrained, working librarian who needs skills immediately to provide responsive, effective public library service. Two of the four basic required courses are taught each year. Other specialized workshops are offered on a regular basis throughout the year.

Regional librarians can also teach mini-workshops on a variety of subjects. These workshops are not included in the annual list of workshops, but rather are scheduled as need arises. Mini-workshops are worth two credits. The Department also offers Materials Review Sessions which count towards two credits. A maximum of 15 Materials Review Sessions credits may be applied towards certification. 

Most VTLIB workshops are held at the regional libraries or at public libraries and are generally scheduled between March and October. The workshop schedule and registration information for the upcoming season is made available in January or February of that same year. Upcoming classes can be found on the VTLIB website on the Events Calendar as well as online registration. Pre-registration is required.

Outside Organizations

Pertinent courses, workshops, and seminars may apply toward cerification. Candidates for certification may receive credit for courses only if they have been taken in the last five years. The maximum number of credits allowed for each academic course is 30. All library courses from an American Library Association institution, the University of Vermont or the Vermont State College system will be automatically approved. Approval for any other current course work must be obtained in advance from the Certification Board. 

Once you have completed a course, you should supply the Certification Board Chair with documentation such as a grade report, transcript or a letter from the instructor.

Meetings that are skill-oriented and presented in a workshop-like format may be granted a maximum of two credits. Organizations planning meetings should request a form from the Certification Board Chair for advance approval of certification credits.

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Internships and Independent Study

An internship is practical, on-the-job work experience in public librarianship. The internship must take place in a library other than your own. Close supervision by an advisor/mentor is a required aspect of the experience. 

Independent study is research in public librarianship or completion of a special library project supervised by an advisor/mentor. This usually results in a written report. Suggested projects might be, but are not limited to: developing a long-range plan, designing special programming, and services for specific populations.

Anyone who is working toward certification may apply for internship or independent study credit. However the individual must have completed the four basic required courses as well as a course covering the topic of the purposed internship or independent study. Up to 25 credits may be granted for each internship or independent study as determined by the Certification Board. Credits will be based on the number of hours. One working day will equal five credits, one week of work equals 25 credits. 

Credit is not given for attending library reading/discussion programs. You may however earn credits for coordinating such a program if it is an original project implemented with the help of a mentor. Prior approval for the project by the Certification Board Chair is also required.

The individual seeking certification is expected to initiate all necessary arrangements for their program. This includes gaining the written consent of your advisor. Any expenses incurrent must be assumed by you or your library.

An advisor is critical to a successful learning experience. A signed agreement indicates a commitment by both parties to the project. No credits toward certification are awarded to the mentor. The agreement should also clarify how expenses will be handled. 

Applications for an internship or independent study should be submitted to the Certification Board prior to starting the project. The application should outline the proposed study/project objectives and the name of the advisor/mentor. You will be notified in writing within four weeks after submitting the application if you will be granted credits for the project. 

Upon project completion you and your mentor must submit evaluations of the project to the Certification Board. Credits toward certification will not be added to your record until both evaluations are reviewed by the Certification Board. For an independent study a written research project may be submitted in lieu of an evaluation.

All necessary forms for this process are available from the Certification Board Chair.

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Certification Board

The five members of the Board are:

  • State Librarian
  • Continuing Education Coordinator, current Board Chair
  • Vermont Library Association President or Representative
  • Representative of Public Libraries appointed by the State Librarian
  • Representative of Trustees appointed by the State Librarian

The Board meets at least once annually to review the files of certification candidates to determine their eligibility. The Certification Board is also empowered to enact any procedural changes in the program which seem appropriate. 

All questions about the certification program or the Certification Board should be directed to the Continuing Education Coordinator at the Vermont Department of Libraries 

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