Michigan School Librarian Certification Guide - 2023

AKA: Library Media Specialist Endorsement


by LibrarianCertification.com Staff

Updated: August 23rd, 2022

As fountains of knowledge and information, school libraries play an influential role in the learning process. But schools won’t utilize these assets efficiently without skilled librarians. According to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), certified library media specialists serve a critical role in students’ academic and professional growth. Michigan school librarians are responsible for organizing and dispensing the wealth of knowledge accumulated in libraries for generations. To help schools leverage these educational assets, MDE offers a school librarian certification program.

What is School Librarian Certification?

A school librarian certification employs different assessments and tests to select the most qualified professionals to manage school libraries. The recognition awarded to school librarians varies from one state to another. In Michigan, the MDE awards Library Media (ND) endorsements to certified teachers who can support students’ learning and development. Applicants with a Master’s Degree in Library Science or Library and Information Science (MLS or MLIS) meet MDE’s requirements to work as school librarians in Michigan.

Why does Michigan require School Librarian Certification?

In today’s digital age, students have complex and evolving educational needs. To meet these needs, school libraries must evolve from dusty storage spaces to technological education hubs. Assigning qualified professionals to oversee school libraries is the first step to achieve this goal. The ideal candidate for this job should help nurture students’ critical thinking and thirst for knowledge.

School library media specialists teach students how to navigate, gather, analyze, and ingest information. This role also requires theoretical and practical skills, including advocacy, leadership, information delivery, and program administration. School librarian licensure proves that the certificate holder has the skills to do the job. According to research, libraries managed by certified school librarians have higher student access and achievement than poorly staffed libraries. To attain this positive outcome, the MDE introduced code “000ND” for certified school librarians. The MDE recommends Michigan schools assign ND-endorsed teachers to manage their libraries.

Initial Librarian Certification Process

The duties of school librarians go beyond library management and administration. Library media specialists also collaborate with teachers to cultivate information literacy and technology in the learning process. They help teachers and students select relevant resources and digital tools for learning. Michigan librarian certification considers all these factors to help schools assign qualified teachers.

To become a Michigan school librarian, you need Library Media (ND) endorsement. This license elevates the status of certified teachers to Library Media Specialists. In 2011, Michigan revised its Library Media (ND) endorsement standards to align with the 2010 ALA Standards for the Initial Preparation of School Librarians. The state now offers the ND as an additional K-12 endorsement. Applicants have to complete school library media preparation with a minimum of 36 semester hours to meet the revised endorsement standards. Like the Standard Teaching Certificate, Library Media (ND) endorsement is valid for five years with unlimited renewals.

Education Requirements

According to Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 388.1763, you cannot work as a librarian in Michigan public and private schools without certification and an endorsement from MDE. The MDE can penalize educators working as school librarians without an ND endorsement by deducting their state aid funds. To avoid loss of income, get an ND certification. The Library of Michigan offers four library certification levels with specific education requirements.

Level 1: Prospective librarians must have a master’s degree from an ALA-accredited library school to qualify for a Level 1 permanent professional certificate.

Level 2: You can apply for a Level 2 professional certificate if you have a Master’s degree in Library Science from a library school accredited by the ALA.

Level 3: To earn a Level 3 limited professional certificate, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. This librarian certification also requires candidates to complete the Beginning Workshop offered by the Library of Michigan.

Level 4: A high school diploma and completion of the Beginning Workshop are required for the Library of Michigan to grant a Level 4 paraprofessional certificate.

The MDE and Library of Michigan won’t consider your application without a valid teaching license. All school librarians must complete First Aid and CPR training to work in Michigan.

Experience Requirements

Michigan school librarians work beyond the library walls. They advocate for dynamic school library programs, cultivate positive learning environments, and create strategies to reinforce classroom reading. As a Michigan Library Media Specialist, you’ll also help classroom teachers address learners’ diverse needs and interests. School librarians should have both theoretical and practical skills to fulfill all these responsibilities. So, experience is essential for educators seeking this position.

To qualify for Level 2 library certification, a candidate must have four years of work experience in a library approved by the Michigan Department of Education. The minimum equivalent period is 7,280 hours accumulated after the completion of educational requirements. If you’ve met this requirement, get an official letter from the employer for the MDE to verify your claim. Candidates applying for a Level 4 paraprofessional certificate must have 1-year experience working in a library. It is equivalent to 1,820 hours of library work, with a verification letter from the school or library. Completing the Beginning Workshop fulfills the experience requirement for Level 3 library media certificates. Prospective librarians with three years of teaching experience don’t have to take the MTTC test for Library Media certification.

Testing Requirements

Candidates who wish to work as school librarians in Michigan must pass Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) for Library Media to qualify for an ND endorsement. This test ensures all Library Media Specialists have the skills and content knowledge to serve Michigan school libraries. The MTTC for Library Media is offered by Pearson Education Inc. Go to the MTTC website and register, pick test dates, and select testing sites. Prospective librarians must get a minimum passing score of 48 to earn a Michigan Library Media (ND) certificate. You can take a computer-based MTTC test for $129 or a paper-based MTTC test for $99. There are tons of MTTC revision material online to help you prepare and pass this test.

Background Checks

Michigan Compiled Law (380.1230 to 380.1230g) requires background checks on all professionals in the education sector, including school librarians. Background checks are essential to ensure the safety of children. In Michigan, the employer bears the responsibility of conducting background checks. Michigan schools run ICHAT searches and request criminal history record information (CHRI) from Michigan State Police and the FBI as required under MCL 380.1230a. Schools can also send teachers’ fingerprints to the FBI for background checks before they get hired. So, most applicants for Michigan school librarian positions don’t need to do background checks. In some cases, state agencies like the MDE and the Library of Michigan will request CHRI from Michigan police and run FBI fingerprinting before awarding certificates.

Application Process

The MDE offers both paper and online applications for librarian certification. To begin the process, go to the Michigan Department of Education website. Then, click on the Library Staff Certification Application form.

For online application, follow these steps:

  1. Open and fill in the Library Staff Certification application form. Circle the level you are applying for, and then complete Applicant Information, Education, and Employer sections.
  2. Email the completed application form to HamlinJ2@Michigan.gov.

For offline/paper Library Media K-12 Endorsement application, follow these steps:

  1. Fill in the Library Staff Certification Application form.
  2. Print the completed application form and send it to:
Library of Michigan
P.O. BOX 30007

Your employer or school must send all the documentation and certificates to the MDE. If you’re applying for Levels 3 or 4 library certification, you’ll have to complete the Beginning Workshop offered by the Library of Michigan.

Certification Renewal Procedure

A Michigan school library certificate is an endorsement attached to your teaching certificate. You cannot renew library media certification on its own. The Michigan Department of Education requires teacher librarians to renew their Professional Teaching Certificates, valid for five years. Renewing your teaching certificate will automatically renew your Library Media endorsement. To renew this certificate, you must complete six semester hours at an approved Michigan institution. Check approved universities in the Directory of Michigan Institutions of Higher Education. The MDE will also allow you to renew the certificate if you have completed 18 State Board Continuing Education Credits.

Michigan teaching certifications and renewals are free and completed online via the MOECS website. You can also apply for reinstatement if your teaching certificate expired, but you have to meet the MDE’s renewal qualifications. To be on the safe side, renew it before it expires. Michigan teaching certificates have unlimited renewal and maintain the existing Library Media (ND) endorsements after each renewal. The nullification process is the only way to remove endorsement from a Michigan teaching certificate.

Certification Reciprocity Process

Michigan is one of many states with a shortage of certified school librarians. In 2018, the MDE added Library Media to the Critical Shortage Disciplines to allow schools to rehire retirees in this role. Teachers with the K-5 All Subjects endorsements can work as school librarians. However, schools can leverage their libraries more efficiently by assigning teachers with the Library Media (ND) endorsement. Michigan has signed an Interstate Compact Agreement (ICA) with several states for reciprocal teacher certification. This agreement can reduce shortages by allowing school districts to advertise library job openings outside of the state. Michigan schools can also hire out-of-state certified librarians.

Michigan’s certification reciprocity process covers out-of-state teacher preparation programs and teaching certificates for initial certification. However, some out-of-state certifications, licensure, and endorsements may differ from Michigan programs. Here are the basic steps of the certification reciprocity procedure under the ICA:

Step 1: Apply via the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) to determine the certificate type.

Step 2: The Office of Educator Excellence (OEE) evaluates teachers who have completed out-of-state endorsement programs. The OEE evaluation costs $50.

Step 3: The MDE evaluates whether applicants have completed First Aid and CPR training.

Step 4: Applicants must take and pass the MTTC endorsement test. The OEE evaluation will determine the appropriate subject test area for out-of-state certificate holders. TIP – Don’t take the MTTC until you receive your OEE evaluation report.

Approved out-of-state applicants with a minimum passing score of 48 will receive a nonrenewable Standard Temporary Teacher Employment Authorization (T2EA). T2EA allows you to work as a teacher in a Michigan school for one year. During this period, you can fulfill the requirements to get a Professional Teaching Certificate and restore or earn a Michigan library media endorsement. You can receive a Professional Teaching Certificate without taking MTTC tests if you meet these four requirements:

  • Meet planned program or degree requirement.
  • Teaching experience requirement.
  • Valid certificate requirement.
  • Fulfill reading methods requirement.

Applicants who fulfill these requirements will be issued a professional teaching certificate or CTE Certificate. With a Michigan teaching certificate, you can request a school librarian endorsement.

Working as a Michigan school librarian allows you to improve the lives of children. Nothing offers more job satisfaction than nurturing and transforming students into responsible adults. To work as a school librarian in Michigan, you’ll need an endorsement. Follow this guide to earn a Michigan Library Media (ND) endorsement.