About the Program
Minnesota Library Certification Program FAQ
1. What is this program?
This is a voluntary Certification program, intended to improve library service in Minnesota by encouraging library employees to acquire, maintain and develop their knowledge and skills. It is now an ongoing program specifically for non-MLS staff. The program was initially developed for public library staff, but academic, special, and school library employees are in the program and enjoying the benefits of a greater knowledge of Minnesota library services.
2. What is involved in certification?
Level 1 (basic) addresses 55 competencies and requires 60 contact hours. Competencies cover the areas of Philosophy, Public Services, Technical Services and Technology. The Philosophy competencies are met by attending "Introduction to Library Service" Day 1 and Day 2 workshops (10 contact hours) and completing assignments. The remaining 50 hours are self-selected for the competencies identified for your development needs. The competencies are usually met by attending workshops approved for MN Voluntary Certification.
3. How do I get started?
Ask when two workshops that comprise "Introduction to Library Service" will be offered next. "Introduction to Library Service" Workshops are usually held at Branch Out and in coordination with the Minnesota Library Association annual conference. They are, also, held periodically in other locations around the State.
4. At what point do I have to make a commitment?
You make your commitment after you have attended any workshop that has been approved for MN Certification or after you attend "Introduction to Library Service" workshops. At that workshop you will receive a "Statewide Participant Database Form which is the Declaration of Intent to Enroll" form. To enroll, you submit the form with a $10 fee to the organization listed on the form. You can also enroll in the program on this website using the link on How to Enroll in the Program.
5. What do I get from participating?
Certification gives you evidence of completing the program and the work that it entails. It is visible proof that you have completed a program of development of 55 library competencies.
6. If it is not for any increase in salary or change in position steps, is it only for the sake of knowledge?
Certification has benefitted participants with increased knowledge of libraries, increased understanding of their jobs, and increased ability to provide better service to customers. This program continues to benefit staff in libraries and has included staff in academic, school, and special libraries, in addition to public libraries.
7. Is it acknowledged by anyone?
This program is endorsed and supported by the regional public library systems, State Library Services, the Minnesota Library Association, and the multi-type library systems.
8. Who else is doing it?
In the United States, more than 30 states have some form of certification program for public library staff. Less than half are mandatory programs, the others are voluntary programs. Only Minnesota's is specifically for library support staff. The majority are designed specifically for administrators of small public libraries.
9. What is expected of me?
The participant will pay a $10 program enrollment fee, accept the commitment of time and effort to participate in learning opportunities for a minimum of 60 contact hours and to complete assignments, and prepare a portfolio of accomplishments.
10. Who will provide the training after the initial ten hours?
For a workshop, course, or training session to be applicable to certification, providers should be approved by the Certification Oversight Committee. Some organizations sponsoring programs are Branch Out, MINITEX, MOTSE, SELCO, WebJunction, and the Arrowhead Library System. Once approved, workshops, programs, etc., offered must meet at least one of the required competencies. Advertisements for offerings of these approved providers will indicate which competencies will be met. Many regional public library systems have had programs approved.
11. What support can I expect from my employer? Will I get release time?
Talk to your supervisor, to your employer, and/or to regional public library system staff concerning possible support - financial, release time, substitutes, coaches, mentors, etc.
12. What will it cost?
The cost to enroll in the program is $10.00 to support the costs of establishing the database of participants. will be Registration fees for the learning opportunities participants select are also the responsibility of the individual.
13. Are there assignments or other outside work required? Where can I get help?
This program does include outside work assignments. Contact the "Introduction to Library Service" presenters, Round Robin coordinators, and your regional public library system staff.
14. How will I know what counts?
The regional public library system staff have information on the competencies that must be covered. Some have already begun to monitor their own workshop offerings for usefulness. All approved providers in the state will be encouraged to use the Certification symbol on their brochures, so you will know that their programs count toward certification.
15. Will I have to travel to workshops?
The planners for certification are aware of the need to keep travel and costs to a minimum. One strategy they introduced is using already planned events such as the regional public library system Round Robins, Branch Out and Minnesota Library Association conferences for presenting the core workshops, "Introducation to Library Service?"
16. Will I get credit for classes already taken, or CEUs I already have?
Only partipants in the MOTSE Basic Cataloging Workshop Series during the three years prior to enrolling in the certification program have been approved to receive credit. The Certification Oversight Committee will consider formal coursework and programs receiving CEU's on a case by case basis. Send your questions to your regional library contacts.
17. How long do I have to do all this?
Certification must be completed within four years of the date of the first course used to complete a competency. Indiviuals may petition the Certification Committee for extension beyond that date. Once earned, certification remains in effect for your entire career.
18. Is recertification mandatory?
There is no formal recertification. The Certification Committee encourages you to continue your CE and learning, as library services are constantly changing.