Texas Public Librarian Certification Guide - 2022

Last Reviewed: August 13th, 2021

While many states require certification of public librarians, Texas is one of the few states that does not require certification. Instead, Texas encourages public librarians to receive continuing education in other ways.

State certification of public librarians hasn’t been required in Texas since 2007, when Governor Rick Perry signed S.B. 913 into law. This law re-established the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. It also contains a provision that eliminates the commission’s certification of county librarians.

If you’re interested in becoming a public librarian in Texas, this article will tell you everything you need to know. Even though Texas doesn’t require public librarian certification, there are certain education and experience requirements you should be aware of. 

As the role of public librarians has expanded and shifted over the years, continuing education has become essential to equip librarians with necessary skills. Now, librarians must assume a number of diverse responsibilities, from organizing community programs to mastering advanced technology. 

Education requirements ensure that public librarians are proficient at the wide range of duties associated with their jobs. Also, as the position has become more regulated, public librarians have gained greater earning potential.

Public Librarian Certification Process

As already stated, there is no official public librarian certification in the state of Texas. However, there are certain separate requirements that library directors must maintain in order for their public libraries to keep their accreditation statuses. 

If you are the director of a public library in Texas, you must obtain at least ten hours of continuing education every year in order for your library to maintain its accreditation. You are not required to submit your workshop certificates to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. However, you should keep a record of your continuing education hours in your files.

Education Requirements

According to the Texas Administrative Code, public librarians must meet one of the following education requirements:

  • Fifth year degree in librarianship from an institution accredited by the American Library Association (ALA)
  • Master’s degree in library or information science from an institution accredited by the ALA
  • Higher credential from a library school offering an ALA-approved program in library or information science

If you’ve received education outside of the United States or Canada, you can submit a written request to the state librarian If your institution and coursework are in line with the standards required by the ALA, you may be certified as a professional librarian.

Alternatively, if you were employed by a Texas library on June 15, 2007 (the day S.B. 913 was signed into law) and you were issued a Grade I – Special County Librarians Certificate, you may be considered a professional librarian. However, this designation is only valid for the library where you were employed on June 15, 2007. 

When searching for a school or program, look for those that have been accredited by the American Library Association, as this will give you the best chance of meeting education requirements in and outside of the state of Texas. 

Thankfully, the ALA provides a helpful directory of accredited programs. This makes it convenient to find a great local program that’s best for you.

Experience Requirements

Most public libraries desire candidates who have strong professional backgrounds and experience related to the public librarian role. Because librarians must be comfortable working with complex technology, assisting library patrons, and managing library staff, relevant experience is an important prerequisite. 

You can obtain relevant experience in several different ways. Many libraries offer internships for public librarian candidates who are still in school. Or, look for employment opportunities that have to do with technology, management, or customer service.

Testing Requirements

There is no specific test you are required to take to become a public librarian in the state of Texas. You simply must meet the above education and experience requirements to be considered a professional librarian. 

Other states may have unique testing requirements for public librarian certification. So, if you’re from Texas but are interested in becoming a public librarian in a different state, be sure to research testing requirements in that state.

Background Checks

As with many jobs, becoming a public librarian typically involves passing a background check. Background checks ensure the standards of the public library system are upheld. They also ensure the safety of our staff, library patrons, and communities.

Most of the time, a criminal background check will include any history of convictions, pending criminal cases, and prison records. It may also include a drug test, reports of arrests that did not lead to convictions, and traffic violations.

Application Process

Applying to be a public librarian in Texas is similar to the application process for most other jobs. In some cases, libraries looking to hire will post their open positions on online job boards. If you’re interested in working for a particular library, contact the library directly, or visit the library’s website to search for available positions. 

For example, the Austin Public Library’s website has a jobs listing page where you’ll find any open librarian positions. You may find that public librarian roles in different counties have slightly different experience qualifications and preferences.

In most cases, you can easily apply for a public librarian position online. There aren’t typically any fees associated with the application process.

Before you apply, make sure you have met the necessary education requirements. In some cases, public libraries will hire you as a public librarian as long as you agree to meet the necessary education requirements within six months of employment.