Michigan Public Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: Permanent Professional Certificate, Professional Certificate, Limited Professional Certificate, Paraprofessional Certificate

Last Reviewed: August 23rd, 2022

Public librarian certification recognizes library staff members for their achievements based on education and experience. As the roles and responsibilities of public librarians continue to expand and evolve, certification ensures that library staff members are well-equipped for the range of duties their profession involves.

In the state of Michigan, certification of library staff is required for public libraries to qualify for State Aid to Public Libraries funding. Certified public librarians are better able to assist library patrons, manage library staff, organize community programs, and work with complex technology. In this way, the certification process ensures all public libraries receiving state aid are up to snuff.

The public librarian certification process is different in every state. As it can be difficult to know which experience and education requirements are necessary for certification, this guide will break down every aspect of Michigan’s public librarian certification.

If you work in a Michigan public library and are seeking certification, this article is for you. Or, if you are interested in becoming a public librarian in Michigan but aren’t sure what the process involves, you’re in the right place.

Public Librarian Certification Process

In the state of Michigan, librarian certification is referred to as Library Staff Certification. There are four different certification levels you can work toward obtaining. Each of these four levels has unique education and experience requirements. 

The four levels of certification are as follows:

  1. Level 1 permanent professional certificate
  2. Level 2 professional certificate
  3. Level 3 limited professional certificate
  4. Level 4 paraprofessional certificate

In Michigan, you do not have to renew your certification after obtaining it initially.

Education Requirements

Each level of library staff certification has different education requirements. So, the level of education you need to become certified depends on the certification level you are seeking.

The Level 4 paraprofessional certificate has the lowest education requirements. To obtain Level 4 certification, you must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. You also must complete the Beginning Workshop* which is offered by the library of Michigan every spring. 

To obtain a Level 3 limited professional certificate, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a college or university that has been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). You must also complete the Library of Michigan’s Beginning Workshop.

*Please note that the Beginning Workshop is being transformed into an online learning experience and will be available in 2022. You can receive a temporary waiver for this certification requirement if your public library needs to meet a staff certification requirement before then. 

You can qualify for a Level 2 professional certificate if you have a master’s of library science degree from an ALA-accredited institution. And, finally, you are a candidate for a Level 1 permanent professional certificate if you have a master’s of library science degree and you have met the necessary experience requirements (detailed below). 

For help finding an ALA-accredited university or college near you, here you can find all the Library and Information Science degree programs in Michigan. Here, you can search for institutions based on your state, concentrations offered, distance learning options, and other educational opportunities.

Any library staff members seeking certification who are also Library Directors must attend the New Directors Workshop and may also need to attend the Advanced Directors Workshop. This requirement depends on library class size. You can find out more information about these workshops on the Library of Michigan’s website.

Experience Requirements

Sufficient experience is a reasonable prerequisite for library professionals who work with complicated technology, library patrons, and other staff members. For this reason, it’s important that you have relevant experience if your goal is to become a certified public librarian. 

Just as with the education requirements, the experience requirements vary based on the level of certification you are seeking. 

For a Level 4 paraprofessional certificate, you are required to have at least one year of full-time experience, or its equivalent (1,820 hours) working in a library. Your work experience will need to be verified in an official letter from your employer. This experience should follow your completion of the necessary education requirements.

To obtain a Level 1 permanent professional certificate, you must have been fully employed in a library approved by the Department of Education for at least four years or its equivalent (7,280 hours). This needs to be verified by your employer with an official letter. 

Testing Requirements

There are no specific testing requirements involved in library staff certification. Any applicant who has met sufficient educational and experience requirements is eligible for certification.

Background Checks

In the interest of keeping our communities safe, you may have to undergo a professional background check as part of the certification process. A background check typically involves verification of your educational and professional background, as well as a look into any criminal history you may have.

Background checks are standard in many industries. The role of public librarians involves assisting community members and regularly interacting with the public, so background checks are in the best interest of the library and its patrons.

Application Process

To apply for certification, fill out the Library Staff Certification Application. You should complete the form by typing in your information on a computer. 

Along with your application, you must also gather supporting documentation including transcripts and any relevant letters of employment to prove completion of the experience requirements. These can be in either digital or paper format. 

Then, email your completed application form and materials to LM-LibCertification@Michigan.gov. If you would prefer to send your application in the mail, you can send it to the following address:

Certification Office
702 West Kalamazoo Street
P.O. BOX 30007
Lansing, MI 48909

There is no fee required to apply for certification. 

After your application has been received, it will be reviewed and approved as long as you’ve met all necessary requirements. You can expect to receive a response via email, and your certificate and letter of certification will arrive via the United States Postal Service, usually within 3 weeks.

If you have any questions or need assistance filling out your application form, call the Certification Office at (517) 335-1516, or email LM-LibCertification@Michigan.gov