Louisiana School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

Last Reviewed: August 23rd, 2022

School libraries are some of the most important institutions open to children during their early development. They are places where children can learn, explore, and grow in a safe environment, often able to access resources they can’t at home. School librarians are entrusted to guide children through this experience, to make it as nurturing and beneficial as possible. Below we discuss how Louisiana’s State School Librarian Certification process for those who wish to help children on this journey.

Louisiana School Librarian Certification

School librarians are certified teachers who have been awarded librarian endorsements in the US. In order to achieve an endorsement, the teacher must have a state school librarian certification.

All education certifications in Louisiana are handled by the Lousiana Department of Education, or LDOE. This includes librarian certification and endorsements.

There are a number of reasons Louisiana requires certification in order to be a school librarian: 

  • To prove a base level of competency in the tasks required of a school librarian. By undergoing the coursework needed to achieve certification, applicants gain theoretical and practical knowledge that they will need to rely on in the course of their work.
  • To serve as a barrier to entry to prevent oversupply of librarians undermining both job stability and wages of certified state school librarians.
  • To prevent people who are unsuitable to work with children from being able to do so via libraries or other teaching facilities. People who fail a criminal history background check cannot hold a teaching license or be certified to work as a librarian, keeping them out of schools and away from vulnerable children.

More than just that, the role of a school librarian has changed a lot throughout these first decades of the 21st century.

School librarians have come a long way from the relatively simple tasks of library management and administration in past decades (although these were certainly not easy jobs). Today, the Louisiana education departments seeks to fully exploit the benefits of libraries as a primary information source. To achieve this, librarians must be able to teach, show leadership, understand information technology, and much more. As such, specific education, testing and experience qualifications need to be met to ensure modern librarians are up to the task.

Louisiana State School Librarian Certification Process

Becoming certified as a school librarian in Louisiana carries with it a number of education and testing requirements. On successful completion of an application, a librarian certification add-on is added to their existing teaching certification.

Louisiana offers librarian certification, and ancillary library certification. Ancillary certification is not considered a teaching position and does not require a teaching license. Education and testing requirements remain the same for both, however.

Librarian certification is valid for 5 years.

Education Requirements

Becoming a certified state school librarian in Louisiana requires a Masters in Library Science from a regionally accredited institution.

You must complete 18 semester hours in library science, distributed as follows:

  • 9 semester hours: elementary or secondary school library materials.
  • 6 semester hours: organization and administration of a school library.
  • 3 semester hours: school library practicum.

Experience Requirements

No amount of theory can prepare someone for the day-to-day realities of a job — and being a school librarian is no different. From organizing and running the library, to assisting students with their needs, there is a lot of hands-on work that requires practical experience.

At a minimum, school librarians in Louisiana must complete three semester hours in school library practicum as part of their course work. If an applicant has already successfully completed 3 years as a school librarian, the practicum part of the educational requirements can be ignored.

Testing Requirements

States differ on whether testing is required to operate as a state school librarian. Louisiana is one of many states that requires that school librarians pass the Praxis II Library Media Content Test. A passing score of 136 is required, and the test fee is $120. It is advised to use your social security number when registering for the test, so that the scores can be accurately recorded for ease of processing.

Background Checks

Background checks are not required during the teaching certification or licensure process in Louisiana. Background checks are instead performed during the hiring process at a school.

Different schools will have their own protocols when it comes to performing background checks. At a minimum, you will need to complete a fingerprint process through the Louisiana State Police and sign a form consenting to the school performing the check.

If a background check fails, a teaching license and all related certifications can be revoked. For a comprehensive list of criminal offences which would preclude one from obtaining a teaching license, and thus becoming a school librarian, please check Teach Louisiana’s PDF.

Application Process

Assuming all relevant qualifications and tests have been met, applicants can apply online through LDOE’s Education Certification Application Portal.

  • Create an account, or log in.
  • Fill in the librarian certification application form.
  • Attach all relevant documentation.
  • Pay the $50 processing fee via credit or debit card. It’s important to note that this fee is nonrefundable, and does not guarantee certification.

Certification Renewal Process

Louisiana state school librarian certification is valid for 5 years and is attached as an add-on to teaching certification. So long as the teaching certification is valid, the librarian certification is, too. 

In Louisiana, teaching certification is valid for 5 years initially, then extended every three years thereafter. Keeping a certificate active is as simple as remaining employed during the 5 years. If there is a lapse of employment greater than 90 consecutive days, then the certification is rendered invalid and a new one will be needed.

After the initial 5 years, or every 3 years following, teachers will need to actively renew their certification. This can be done through the Education Certification Application Portal, linked above. Teachers will need to prove that they have been working and positively evaluated during their period. Negative evaluations or long lapses in employment will negatively affect your ability to renew your teaching certification.

Apply for certification on LDOE’s Education Certification Portal.

Reciprocity

Louisiana has reciprocity with all 50 states with the Interstate Agreement and National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, or NASDTEC. However, Louisiana does have jurisdiction specific requirements which limit how out-of-state certified teachers can act within Louisiana.

Educators from interstate are not granted a full teaching license within Louisiana. Instead they are issued a temporary license that permits them to work in K-12 schools for up to 3 years. This allows the teacher a transition period while they complete Praxis and National Teacher Exam requirements to become fully licensed within Louisiana proper. If the teacher has not completed requirements within the three years, they are not eligible to continue teaching in the state.

Experienced teachers from out of state are eligible to skip certain Praxis and NTE requirements should they meet certain conditions. This includes the Praxis test for being a school librarian. The conditions are:

  1. The teacher has 3 years experience in their relevant certification field
  2. They have completed one year of teaching in Louisiana with a positive evaluation

So a state school librarian from out of state can become a Louisiana state school librarian if they have had three years’ experience interstate, and been employed as a teacher within Louisiana on their temporary license for one year.

Encouraging a love of literature, helping students develop invaluable researching skills, and being a fundamental part of the early education experience or just some of the many benefits of being a certified librarian. If you’re an educator with a particular love of developing curious minds, a career as a school librarian can be a richly rewarding career opportunity.

If you’re not already an educator, but looking to become one, Teach Louisiana has all of the information you need to learn the latest qualifications and requirements necessary to start your teaching journey.