Oregon School Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: Oregon Librarian Endorsement

Last Reviewed: August 23rd, 2022

Licensor: Oregon TSPC

School libraries are one of the primary sources of information during a child’s education. They provide a range of services far beyond simply checking out books. Children learn invaluable skills in a safe and secure environment, often able to access resources simply not available at home.

School librarians, therefore, are highly valuable members of a school’s staff. They serve not just as custodians of the library’s resources, but as teachers as well. 

Below we discuss how Oregon’s State School Librarian Certification process for those who wish to help children on this journey.

Oregon School Librarian Certification

School librarians in Oregon are certified teachers who have been awarded librarian endorsements. In order to achieve an endorsement, the teacher must have a state school librarian certification, a teaching license, and several hours of practical experience.

All education licensure and certification in Oregon is handled by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, or TSPC. This includes librarian certification and endorsements.

Oregon has some fairly strict standards for their state school librarians compared to other states. Certification is important for many reasons: 

  • By undergoing the certification process, applicants gain both the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to perform their duties. Completing the certification is proof this work has been completed.
  • It serves as something of a barrier to entry. This controls the supply of librarians in the state, preventing oversupply that would undermine wages and job stability.
  • Importantly, it protects children from being taught by people who are unsuitable to work with children. Criminal background checks are a necessary part of state school librarian endorsement, and a failure on the check will prevent employment in that profession.

And, of course, the role of librarian has developed significantly over the decades.

As mentioned earlier, librarians of today are no longer simply administrators and custodians of the tomes stacked on the shelves. Oregon’s state school librarians today help education departments fully exploit the benefits of libraries as a primary information source. This means providing additional services such as computer literacy, leadership skills, and other tasks that aid in child development.

Oregon School Librarian Certification Process

Becoming an endorsed state school librarian in Oregon carries with it a number of education and testing requirements. On successful completion of an application, a librarian endorsement is added to their existing teaching certification.

Oregon librarian certification is valid for 5 years.

Education Requirements

Becoming a certified state school librarian in Oregon requires a Masters in Library Science from a regionally accredited institution. You need 29 hours in library media semester hours to be eligible.

You do not need a teaching license in Oregon to become a state school librarian. However, if you do not have one, you will need to complete an additional 16 semester hours in Advanced Education Media.

The Library Media preparation course must also contain a unit for visual impairment. This is a requisite in Oregon, and applicants are encouraged to contact their college to ensure they offer qualifications in this area to ensure they are properly accredited on completion.

Experience Requirements

Practical experience is invaluable. Fully experiencing the tasks and responsibilities of a role is one of the most important parts of any education — and a librarian is no different.

Both the Master’s in Library Science and Advanced Education Media courses contain practicum hours as part of their coursework. The Advanced Education Media is not necessary if the applicant already has experience as a teacher.

Testing Requirements

Oregon requires two tests from librarian applicants. They must pass a School Library Media Specialist exam through Oregon Educator Licensure Assessment. The fee is $29.95. They must also pass a Civil Rights exam.

Background Checks

Background checks are required during the teaching certification or licensure process in Oregon.

Background checks can include:

  • Fingerprinting through Oregon State Police (OSP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); 
  • a Law Enforcement Data Systems (LEDS) check; 
  • a check of the NASDTEC clearinghouse for educator discipline (National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification); in some circumstances, an Internet search.

While fingerprints are valid for 3 years, existing background checks — say for a former employer — cannot be used when applying for a librarian endorsement. You must get a new background check completed.

Failure on a background check automatically disqualifies someone from holding a teaching license or a librarian endorsement.

For full instructions, check TPSA’s FAQ page.

Application Process

Applications are completed online through TPSA’s online portal and carry a cost of $182.

After signing up to the portal, you can complete the Library Media endorsement application process. You will need to pay the application fee (non-refundable, and does not guarantee endorsement) and provide the relevant details to prove you have met the education and experience requirements necessary.

Once the application has been submitted, it will be sent for review. You are able to check the status of your application manually.

Certification Renewal Process

Oregon requests that licenses are renewed 90 days before they are set to expire. The Library Media endorsement is connected to the teaching license.

Oregon requires continuing education and proof of completion of Professional Development Units in order to renew your license. Failure to provide this will result in the teaching license being revoked.

If an applicant is late in renewing their license, a 120 day grace period is afforded from the end of their license period in order to submit PDUs and finalize an application. Failure to do so in this time frame will likewise result in the license being revoked.

Reciprocity

Oregon has reciprocity with all 50 states with the Interstate Agreement and National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, or NASDTEC. However, Oregon does not provide full licensure to out of state qualified teachers and librarians at the outset.

Out of state qualified teachers who have not already had a provisional license in Oregon will be granted a reciprocal license. To gain a full teaching license, a teacher will need to:

  • Provide their proof of examinations from interstate as part of their application, or
  • If they have had 5 years of employment as a teacher in another state, they can request to have their history reviewed to waive the need to complete further examination in Oregon, or
  • They will need to undergo the relevant training and qualifications within Oregon to attain a full teaching license.

Whether it’s a desire to encourage a love of literature in children, or wanting to help students develop invaluable researching skills, a career as a school librarian can be a richly rewarding career opportunity. It combines many of the benefits of teaching, with unique challenges and considerations.