Utah School Librarian Certification Guide - 2023
AKA: Library Media K-12 Endorsement
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School librarians in Utah work in academic settings, from elementary schools to universities. They are responsible for managing the library, including maintaining reference services and organizing learning materials. In this guide, we will conduct a step-by-step analysis of Utah’s school librarian certification process.
The Utah State Board of Education Educator Licensing is responsible for all aspects of educator licensing in Utah, including overseeing the certification of teachers and librarians. Prospective librarians must meet the state’s requirements to earn Utah librarian endorsement. Utah’s Library Media K-12 Endorsement indicates that the certificate holder’s specialization in library management. Endorsements are awarded by the Utah State Board of Education, attached to an Educator License.
Professionals licensed to teach elementary, secondary, or special education can apply for Library Media K-12 Endorsement. They have to pass all tests and meet the requirements to get the Library Media endorsement. This certificate proves that the educator is qualified to manage school library media services and help students and teachers find and use educational materials.
The Utah State Board of Education acknowledges that the needs of learners in today’s society are complex. To meet learners’ evolving needs, the state’s education body and school librarians created the Utah Standards for Library Media. These standards highlight critical literacy skills across all curricular areas and act as the founding blocks of Utah’s school librarian certification. The program gives school librarians the skills and tools to meet learners’ complex needs.
Utah school libraries play a critical role in students’ learning process and experience. They are the research and information arm of academic institutions and support the development of 21st-century skills. The success of Utah’s school library programs relies on the expertise of school librarians in charge of these assets. They play an influential role in student’s academic growth, which is why the Utah State Board of Education endorses qualified librarians.
Certified librarians are not required in Utah schools. However, a licensed educator seeking to work as a school librarian must have a Library Media K-12 Endorsement. The USBE awards three types of endorsements – Library Media Specialist, Professional Library Media K-12 Endorsement, and Associate Library Media K-12 Endorsement. Certified teachers in Utah can work as Library Media Specialists in their school or district. This entry-level librarian position only requires an Educator License and teaching experience in a school setting. To earn a Library Media K-12 Endorsement, all applicants must meet Utah’s certification requirements.
Prospective librarians must meet education requirements before proceeding to the next step of Utah’s Library Media K-12 Endorsement application. First, candidates must have a valid teaching license. The Utah State Board of Education won’t consider your application if you’re not a licensed educator. Second, Praxis II Library Media Content Test with a minimum passing score of 141. Third, complete micro-credentials or courses covering at least two of the six requirement areas. Here is the breakdown of Utah’s six requirement areas for Library Media endorsement:
All six education requirements link to a specific librarian skill and relevant course, degree, or micro-credential. Educators applying for a Professional Library Media K-12 Endorsement, Out of State Licensure, or Associate Library Media K-12 Endorsement should have a bachelor’s or higher degree in the endorsement area.
Applicants can also complete micro-credentials or courses covering at least two of the six requirements to proceed. These two approved education categories create three pathways to Utah’s Library Media Endorsement:
Pathway 1: Prospective librarians complete a program for library media endorsement approved by the Utah institution of higher education and matching the state’s seven requirements. They’ll also have to take and pass Praxis II: Subject Assessment Test 5311.
Pathway 2: Educators seeking to become Utah school librarians using this option must complete coursework equivalent to the state’s approved program. The ideal program should match the seven requirements. Then, prospective candidates should pass Praxis II: Subject Assessment Test 5311.
Pathway 3: You can use this pathway if you have a Master’s Degree in Library Science or Instructional Technology from an approved college or university. But Instructional Technology degree should focus on school library media. Like the previous pathways, you must also pass Praxis II: Subject Assessment Test 5311 in this option.
If the candidate is taking Utah-based university courses, they should be approved by the USBE, graduate level, and completed within six years of application. Applicants must earn a C or higher in the courses to qualify. USBE approved professional development courses for school librarians should be upper-division or graduate level, with a minimum of three semester hours, and entered in MIDAS. To qualify, applicants must complete the coursework within the last five years.
The responsibility of a school librarian goes beyond managing and organizing books. They are advocates of reading and access to information and nurture learners’ educational and professional growth. These responsibilities are more practical than theoretical, which is why experience is a must-have for professionals seeking a librarian position. Experience and education requirements for Utah school librarians are intertwined. So, applicants experienced in teaching children, leadership, advocacy, organization, and technology can work as librarians.
The state of Utah recognizes licensed librarians as library media teachers. They teach students how to find and leverage available literature and information. Certified teachers in Utah require a few years of teaching experience in a school setting to work as Library Media Specialists in their school or district. If you have a Master’s degree in Library Science, provide proof of your experience or coursework in children or young adult literature within the last five years. The USBE also requires applicants to complete a library media practicum or equivalent experience in an accredited school.
The USBE’s Library Media endorsement anchors to the ALA/AASL/CAEP School Librarian Standards for 2019. Applicants who meet ALA’s experience requirements can work as school librarians in Utah. Like teachers, highly experienced school librarians earn more than new school libraries.
Applicants must pass a series of assessments to satisfy Utah’s requirements for certification. There are three ways to earn a Library Media Endorsement and work as a school librarian in Utah. All three pathways require prospective librarians to pass Praxis II: Subject Assessment Test 5311. This computer-delivered test is a two-hour exam with 120 multiple-choice questions.
The ETS Organization offers Praxis 5311 test, which covers relevant college coursework.
Note that the Praxis 5311 exam is not a rework of your college classes. To pass this test, focus on how your degree work has prepared you for a school librarian role. You can draw inspiration from your experience as a teacher to answer leadership-related questions. Aim for Praxis 5311 test score of 141 or over to satisfy Utah’s test requirement. If you take the test in Utah, the ETS will send the results to the Utah State Board of Education.
Utah Law (53G-11-403) requires background checks on all prospective school librarians. These checks are essential to ensure the safety of children. Submitting a cleared background check also enhances the school’s trust and confidence in you as a professional librarian. The USBE only accepts online background check applications. You must submit fingerprints for review by the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI. Fingerprinting for a USBE background check costs $30.
Step 1: Go to secure.utah.gov and click on Background Check and then click Initial License. You will receive an email with a printable PDF authorization form for a LiveScan electronic fingerprint submission.
Step 2: Print the authorization form and go for LiveScan fingerprinting at an approved location. To find USBE-approved LiveScan sites, click this link.
The USBE will send you a background check completion email after about 20-25 business days. Attach the email to your school librarian application. If you use copies of background checks done elsewhere, the USBE can reject your application.
Prospective librarians can complete the application process for USBE endorsement online or fill a form offline. However, both commence on www.schools.utah.gov/curr/librarymedia. Navigate to the Educator Endorsement section to find Library Media K-12 application forms.
For online Library Media K-12 Endorsement application, follow these steps:
For offline/paper Library Media K-12 Endorsement application, follow these steps:
Utah’s Library Media certification is an additional subject area endorsement. So, the application process attaches the librarian endorsement to your elementary or secondary teaching license.
The Utah State Board of Education does not require certified school librarians but allows licensed educators to become Library Media Teachers through endorsements. The endorsement is attached to your Educator License. The license cycle varies depending on license levels. A Level 1 license is valid for only three years, Level 2 for five years, and Level 3 for seven years. Your teaching license and endorsement expire at the same time because they are intertwined. So, renewing your Educator License will renew your Library Media endorsement. If you have “Professional Library Media K-12 Endorsement,” your license/endorsement renewal will be in the same category. The same applies to Library Media Specialists and school librarians with Associate Library Media K-12 Endorsements. Follow these steps to renew the Educator License and attached endorsement.
Utah teacher license renewal costs $75 for all certificate levels. If your teaching certificate is expired, apply for a Return to Licensure. Utah’s reinstatement of certification has a processing fee of $65.
The state of Utah is part of the Interstate Certification Compact and the NASDTEC Interstate Contract. The USBE accepts candidates from states participating in these reciprocity agreements. Out-of-state certified educators must meet all Utah requirements to work in the state. If you qualify for the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure, Utah’s board of education can award a professional license (NASDTEC Stage 3) valid for five years. However, Utah does not require certified librarians to manage libraries. So, having a school librarian certification or licensure in another state does not guarantee automatic awarding of a Library Media K-12 Endorsement in Utah.
The USBE matches out-of-state certifications and endorsements as closely as possible. However, most states have unique school librarian certification and licensure programs. If you have a Professional Teaching License and a School Librarian Certification, the USBE will review your application to determine whether all Utah’s requirements have been satisfied. The USBE can award you a temporary teaching license while working to fulfill testing requirements and background checks.
School librarians play a critical role in the learning process. Working as a school librarian gives you this rewarding and satisfying opportunity. But first, you’ll need an endorsement. Follow this guide to earn a USBE Library Media endorsement and work as a school librarian in the state of Utah.