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Certificate of Public Librarianship

Certificate recipients and Catherine Delneo at VLA ceremony May 2024


The Certificate of Public Librarianship program is directed by the Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB). Its purpose is to help library staff grow professionally, and to help libraries 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." 

The Certificate of Public Librarianship program is geared toward library directors who have not had previous formal library training. Enrollment is also open to other library staff, volunteers, trustees, and people living in Vermont who hope to join the library profession. Enrollees must live in Vermont or be associated with a Vermont library in order to participate in this program. There is no fee for this program.

Certificate requirements:

  • Four core courses, each 25 Continuing Education Units
    • Basic Public Library Administration:
    • Cataloging
    • Collection Development
    • Reference
  • Electives: 40 Continuing Education Units
  • Library Technology: 10 Continuing Education Units

Total required Continuing Education Units: 150


Continuing Education Record - This form may be used to document your continuing education activities. Please only submit this form to the Vermont Department of Libraries twice a year, May and December: PDF Format | Word Format

Conference Attendance Record - This form may be used to document conference attendance: PDF Format | Word Format



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Basics of Certification

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

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

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.

Certificates will be awarded annually at the Vermont Library Conference. Letters of completion will be mailed throughout the year, but the certificate document will not be awarded until the conference.

Recipients of the Certificate of Public Librarianship 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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Certificate Requirements

150 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) must be completed within five years. CEUs are generally calculated by the length of a training: 1 Contact Hour = 1 CEU. Core courses, college or other extended trainings, and conferences are an exception to this. Core courses each earn 25 CEUs; college courses earn 12 CEUs, and conferences earn a maximum of 12 CEUs. 

Four core courses are required as part of the certification program. These courses are taught by the Department on a rotating basis. They are: Basic Public Library Administration, Cataloging, Collection Development, and Information Services/Reference.

Additionally, 10 CEUs need to be earned in library technology, and 40 CEUs in Electives. 

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Classes and Workshops

Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB)

The Department teaches a variety of classes. VTLIB trainings follow the formula of 1 Contact Hour = 1 CEU with the exception of the core courses, which earn 25 CEUs. Each core course is offered at least once a year. These require attendance a series of online synchronous sessions over the course of several weeks.

Most VTLIB workshops are held at online. The training schedule and registration information can be found on the VTLIB Continuing Education Calendar

Outside Organizations

Training from outside organizations can be used to earn credit. All training from the Vermont Library Association, the Association for Small & Rural Libraries, the American Library Association, the Public Library Association, and the University of Vermont or the Vermont State College system will be automatically approved. Any content on Niche Academy or shared by VTLIB in Continuing Education emails, digest posts, or social media will also earn credit.  

Three of the core courses can be taken asynchonoulsy online from the Idaho Commission for Libraries:

Cataloging (called Technical Services on the Idaho site)

Collection Development 

Reference/Information Serives (called Public Services on the Idaho site)

All four segments of each sequence must be completed to fulfill the core requirement. Individual segments can be taken to earn Elective credit.

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Internships and Independent Study

An internship is practical, on-the-job work experience in public librarianship. An internship can take place in a library other than your own, or in your own library provided it is not a topic or skill set associated with your current job. 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. Continuing Education Units will be given for internships and independent study based on the number of hours dedicated to the work, with a maximum of 12 CEUs possible.

Credit is not given for county library director meetings or VTLIB-hosted round tables. Participation in the Certificate of Public Librarianship mentor program does not earn credit unless a specific project guided by the mentor is pre-approved by VTLIB. 

Ideas for for internships or independent study should be submitted to the Library Consultant - Continuing Education prior to starting the project. The submission should outline the proposed study/project objectives and the name of the advisor/mentor. A meeting with the CE Consultant prior to starting the project is recommended, and written approval is required.

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All questions about the certification program or should be directed to the Library Consultant - Continuing Education  at the Vermont Department of Libraries.