What's Here? - Table of Contents
The State of Oklahoma has 214 public libraries branches across the state. The Oklahoma Library Association and Oklahoma Department of Libraries have worked together to appoint a group to oversee a series of certifications to ensure that library staff and administration meet the highest quality standards. This Certification Implementation Committee established and maintains the guidelines that drive the program. The goals of the certification program include:
In addition to the certifications, the state also operates a robust librarian education program (Institute in Public Librarianship) that provides both basic and continuing education courses.
Obtaining the Oklahoma Public Librarian Certification is voluntary in most cases, but the Oklahoma Library Association and the Oklahoma Department of Libraries highly encourage library staff to participate in the certification program. Some local library boards may require certification for elevated positions such as directors or branch heads.
The Public Librarian Certification has 7 levels. These levels do not have to be completed in sequential order and are not considered a career path. Individuals may choose to obtain additional training or education without seeking to advance their certification level.
To qualify for Level 1 certification, applicants must successfully complete the Institute in Public Librarianship coursework.
To qualify for Level 2 certification, applicants must meet ONE of the following criteria:
To qualify for Level 3 certification, applicants must meet ONE of the following criteria:
To qualify for Level 4 certification, applicants must meet ONE of the following criteria:
To qualify for Level 5 certification, applicants must obtain a master’s degree in library/ information science from an ALA-credited university program.
To qualify for Level 6 certification, applicants must obtain a master’s degree in library/ information science from an ALA-credited university program and have three years of library experience.
To qualify for Level 7 certification, applicants must meet ONE of the following criteria:
There are certification requirements for high-level directors and administrators depending on the number of people in the community that they serve. For example, directors serving a population between 5,000 and 9,999 should at a minimum hold a Level 4 certification. Directors who serve a population between 100,000 and 149,000 should have a Level 5 certification.
These guidelines are a minimum. Some libraries may have additional requirements for their staff. This decision is at the discretion of the local library leadership.
The Institute in Public Librarianship is a series of classes that are offered by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. The series includes basic and advanced level classes. Basic classes can be taken to qualify for Levels 1, 2, or 3. Advanced courses may be taken to earn continuing education credits (and with special approval to qualify for the higher-level certifications). Each class is three to six hours long and is held at various locations throughout the state.
To complete the basic Institute of Public Librarianship coursework, participants must complete the following eight classes: Collection Development, Computers and Electronic Resources, Current Trends and Legislation Affecting Public Libraries, How to Think Like a Librarian, Interpersonal Skills, Public Library Administration, Services for Adults, and Services for Youth.
Advanced classes include Library Management, Personal & Interpersonal Development, Technical Services, Technology, and Community Relations.
The application process includes filling out a paper form and sending it to the Oklahoma Department of Libraries for review and approval. Applicants should include official copies of their transcripts or diploma (photocopies are not acceptable), Institute of Public Librarianship completion, and employment records. The application fee is $20, and checks should be payable to the Oklahoma Library Association.
The application itself is relatively short. Applicants must provide personal information (name, address, phone number), current position and library of employment, and which certification level they are requesting.
All certifications are good for three years. There is no fee to renew your certification, however, you do have to fill out a renewal application. The renewal application is nearly identical to the original certification application. In addition to the renewal application, you have to provide the details of all completed continuing education credits. Certification renewal requires a minimum of 4 CEUs (which equates to 40 hours of continuing education) or three hours of approved college coursework.