Maryland Public Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: Public Librarian Certificate, Public Library Director Certificate, Public Library Associate Certificate

Last Reviewed: August 23rd, 2022

Licensor: MD State Library

In Maryland, Public Librarian Certification is required for all public library associates, librarians, and library directors. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) administers the certification to professional public librarians as well as public school teachers. 

Certification requirements ensure that all public library employees are capable of excelling in their versatile roles. Being a Professional Public Librarian requires a diverse range of skills including collecting and analyzing statistical information, preparing community programs, utilizing complicated technology, and assisting library patrons in locating information.

As such, certification requirements make sure public librarians are equipped with the right education and experience to fulfill these responsibilities. 

Since certification requirements vary by state, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate the certification process. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about Public Librarian Certification in Maryland.

Public Librarian Certification Process

Maryland’s Public Librarian Certification is governed by the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) and is administered by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). There are three levels of library certification in the state of Maryland. They are:

  • Public Librarian Certificate
  • Public Library Director Certificate
  • Public Library Associate Certificate

Each of these certifications needs to be renewed every 5 years.

Education Requirements

To obtain Professional Public Librarian Certification, you must have a master’s degree from a library school that has been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). You can find an ALA-accredited institution near you by browsing through the Library and Information Science degree programs in Maryland

After you’ve received certification, you’ll need to complete the equivalent of 6 semester hours in an accredited institution or in-service program in one of the following areas:

  • Management and supervision
  • Information technology
  • Reference or technical services
  • Other subjects that are relevant to your professional assignment

You are responsible for keeping track of your continuing education credits and can do so by using the Full Record of Continuing Education Activities form. 

If your goal is to obtain certification as a Professional Library Director, you will also need a master’s degree from a library school accredited by the ALA. Similar to the Professional Public Librarian Certification, you must complete 6 semester hours in an accredited institution or in-service program related to library management or administration, or other relevant subjects.

For certification as a Public Library Associate, you need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. You also need to have completed 90 contact hours of approved in-service training through the Library Associate Training Institue (LATI) or 9 hours of formal academic work in library science within 2 years of your employment. 

After you’ve completed these initial education requirements, you’ll need to complete 6 semester hours in an accredited institution or in-service program in subjects that relate to your role every 5 years.

Experience Requirements

To become a certified Professional Public Librarian, it’s important that you have adequate experience to excel in the role. For example, before seeking to become a Certified Public Librarian, many people start out as library associates or volunteers.

As the role of a Public Librarian has expanded over the years, the demands of the position have increased. For this reason, applicants should have relevant experience working with complex technology, assisting customers or patrons, and working in a collaborative environment.

To become a Certified Professional Library Director, you must have at least 5 years of experience as a professional librarian with at least 2 years of experience as an administrator or supervisor.

Testing Requirements

There are no specific tests you must take to receive Professional Public Librarian certification. However, you will need to take tests throughout your coursework as you pursue your master’s degree.

Background Checks

Background checks are important for all library professionals to undergo because they ensure the safety of our communities. A background check may include verifying your education and professional records as well as determining your criminal history.

Application Process

Depending on whether you are applying for first-time certification as a Public Librarian, Public Library Director, or Public Library Associate, the certification process will differ. There is also a separate process you must go through if you are applying for the renewal of an expiring certificate.

The following sections describe the application process for each of these scenarios.

Professional Public Librarian and Public Library Director Certification

The Staff Development Coordinator or designated Administrator of the library system is responsible for initiating the certification process for the initial certification of public librarians and library directors.

As the applicant, you must create an account on the Educator Information System (EIS) Portal. In addition, you’ll need to complete the official Application for Certification form

Afterward, the Staff Development Coordinator or designated Administrator will send the following materials to the Certification Branch:

  • Your cover letter and Application for Certification containing the following information about you:
    • Full name
    • Date of birth
    • Social security number
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Email address
  • A copy of your transcript from the issuing institution (in a sealed envelope)

These materials must be mailed to the following address:

Certification Call Center
Maryland State Department of Education
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore MD 21201

After your materials are received by the Certification Office, they will be assigned to a Certification specialist. After the Certification specialist determines your eligibility, he or she will process your certificate. 

You’ll then receive an email notifying you that you’ve been approved, and you’ll be prompted to pay a $10 fee. You can make this payment via library system check, money order, or cashiers’ check mailed to the Certification Branch. Alternatively, you can pay online via credit card in your EIS portal, but note that you’ll be charged an additional $1.50 service fee.

After your payment has been received, you’ll be able to print out your certificate directly from the portal. All certifications have either a January 1 or July 1 start date and are valid for five years. 

You can find out more information about the application process in Maryland’s Profesional Public Librarian & Public Library Director Guide.

Public Library Associate Certification

As a Public Library Associate, you’ll need to make sure you complete the public library associate training requirements every five years. Check with your Staff Development Coordinator to confirm when you need to submit your Full Record of Continuing Education Activities from along with documentation of each learning activity. 

It is your responsibility to maintain a copy of records documenting your completion of the Library Associate Training Institute (LATI) or 9 hours of formal academic coursework in library science.

To find out more about Public Library Associate Certification, check out the Maryland Public Library Associate Education & Training Requirements Guide.

Certification Renewal

If you are seeking to renew an expiring certification, the process is slightly different. 

First, ensure that you have accrued the 90 contact hours (or 6 semester hours) of continuing education that is required within the 5-year eligibility period of your certificate.

Then, within ninety days of your certificate’s expiration, the Staff Development Coordinator or designated Administrator should collect:

  • Your cover letter requesting renewal of your certificate
  • A Full Record of Continuing Education Activities form with your signature and the Staff Development Coordinator’s signature, and
  • A $10 money order, certified check, or cashiers’ check payable to the Maryland State Department of Education

The Staff Development Coordinator or designated Administrator will send all of these materials to the following address:

Maryland State Department of Education
ATTN: Certification Branch
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-2595

Alternatively, materials can be emailed to: certdocuments.msde@maryland.gov. There is also an option to pay online after your certificate renewal has been approved.