South Dakota Public Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

AKA: Library Director Certification, Library Staff Certification, Grade I, Grade II, Grade III

Last Reviewed: November 18th, 2021

Public librarian certification in South Dakota recognizes library directors and staff who want to update their knowledge and skill. Those who become certified help public libraries provide better service to their communities. As the role of public librarians shifts over time, it becomes even more vital for public librarians to receive continuing education and obtain new skills.

In South Dakota, public librarian certification is voluntary, not required. The certification process involves continuing education to develop and maintain relevant on-the-job skills.

Although certification is optional for staff, public libraries must have a state-certified director to be eligible for the South Dakota State Library’s accreditation program.

If you are a current public library employee interested in advancing your career, or if you’re a member of the public looking for a career change, getting certified could be the next right step. Because certification requirements vary by state, the process can sometimes be unclear, but this guide will tell you everything you need to know about becoming a certified public librarian in South Dakota.

The Public Librarian Certification Guide

The South Dakota Public Librarian Certification Program is South Dakota’s official certification program for library directors and staff. Candidates may obtain one of three different certification levels: Grade I, Grade II, or Grade III.

Regardless of which level certificate you obtain, you must renew your certificate every three years. If you wish to renew your certificate at the same level, you must complete 30 contact hours of continuing education within those three years.

The following sections break down the requirements for these different certification levels.

Education Requirements

The level of education you need to become certified depends on whether you are a library director or staff member, as well as the certification level you are seeking.

For non-director library staff members seeking certification, these are the education requirements for each certification level, according to the South Dakota Public Library:

  • Grade I:
    • A master’s degree in librarianship or another related field, OR
    • A bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by the American Library Administration (ALA), plus completion of the South Dakota Library Training Institute OR
    • A bachelor’s degree from an ALA-accredited institution, plus a minor in Library Science or Library Media (at least 18 college credit hours of library coursework)
  • Grade II:
    • A two-year associate’s degree from an ALA-accredited institution, plus completion of the South Dakota Library Training Institute OR
    • A two-year associate’s degree in library studies from an ALA-accredited institution, or at least 18 hours of college credit library coursework
  • Grade III:
    • A high school diploma or GED, plus completion of the South Dakota Library Training Institute

The education requirements for library directors are as follows, according to the South Dakota State Library:

  • Grade I:
  • Grade II:
    • A bachelor’s degree from an ALA-accredited institution, plus a minor in Library Science or Library Media (at least 18 college credit hours of library coursework), OR
    • A bachelor’s degree from an ALA-accredited institution, plus completion of the South Dakota Library Training Institute
  • Grade III:
    • A high school diploma or GED with three years of verified library experience, plus completion of the South Dakota Library Training Institute, OR
    • A high school diploma and an associate’s degree in Library Studies from an ALA-accredited institution, or at least 18 college credit hours of library coursework

For all levels, you may receive a provisional certificate upon completion of your first year at the Library Training Institute and within seven years of beginning the program.

Remember, if you’re planning to renew an existing certificate, you must complete a minimum of 30 contact hours of continuing education during the three years since you were last awarded certification.

Find all Library and Information Science degree programs in South Dakota.

Experience Requirements

There are no specific experience requirements to become a certified public librarian in South Dakota. However, if you are hoping to make a career change and pursue a career as a public librarian, you will be a stronger candidate if you have some library experience.

Previous internships or volunteer roles at the public library are a plus, as are roles in public or customer service. Your resume should demonstrate that you have a wide range of skills like proficient use of technology and community organization.

Testing Requirements

There is no testing requirement for public library certification in the state of South Dakota. You will, however, have to provide documents, including your diploma and/or transcripts.

Background Checks

Background checks are vital for keeping the members of all South Dakota communities safe. Library directors and staff go through routine background checks before they are issued offers for employment.

Background checks happen during the hiring process at public libraries. Because South Dakota’s public librarian certification is voluntary, there are no additional background checks for staff members who apply for certification.

Application Process

To apply for public librarian certification, you’ll need to fill out the online application. Applications are due by the end of the business day on the first Friday of September. You can submit your completed application, along with your supporting documents, by emailing Kathleen.Slocum@state.sd.us. Or, you can mail all your application materials to Kathleen Slocum at the following address:

Continuing Education Coordinator

South Dakota State Library

800 Governors Drive

Pierre, SD 57501

You should keep a record of the continuing education hours you plan to use toward your certification. This includes documentation for all webinars, courses, conferences, and workshops you attend. The South Dakota Public Library provides a few resources and ideas for earning continuing education hours in this document.

Similar to the education requirements, you must submit different reporting documents depending on whether you are a library director or staff member, as well as the certification level you are seeking.

Here are the documents you must submit with your application if you are a non-director library staff member, according to the South Dakota State Library:

  • Grade I:
    • A master’s diploma in Library Science Graduate Diploma or transcripts, OR
    • A bachelor’s diploma or transcripts from an accredited institution, plus South Dakota Library Training Institute certificate, OR
    • A bachelor’s diploma or transcripts from an accredited institution, plus a minor in Library Science or Library Media (at least 18 hours of college credit library coursework)
  • Grade II:
    • An associate’s diploma or transcripts, plus South Dakota Library Training Institute certificate, OR
    • An associate’s diploma or transcripts demonstrating 18 hours of college credit library coursework
  • Grade III:
    • A high school diploma or GED certificate, plus South Dakota Library Training Institute certificate

If you are a director applying for certification, here are the documents you must submit with your application, according to the South Dakota State Library:

  • Grade I:
    • A master’s of Library Science Graduate Diploma or transcripts
  • Grade II:
    • A bachelor’s diploma or transcripts from an ALA-accredited institution, plus a minor in Library Science or Library Media (at least 18 college credit hours in library coursework), OR
    • A bachelor’s diploma or transcripts from an ALA-accredited institution, plus South Dakota Library Training Institute certificate
  • Grade III:
    • A high school diploma or GED certificate, documentation of library experience, and South Dakota Library Training Institute certificate, OR
    • A high school diploma and Associate’s Degree certificate/diploma or transcripts of 18 college credit hours of library coursework

If you have any questions about the certification process and requirements, call Kathleen Slocum, the Continuing Education Coordinator, at 605-773-8438, or 800-423-6665 (South Dakota residents only).