Vermont Public Librarian Certification Guide - 2024

AKA: Certificate of Public Librarianship

by Staff

Updated: August 23rd, 2022

Public librarian certification in Vermont is designed to provide formal training to individuals who are directing Vermont public libraries. While certification is not required in the state of Vermont, it is encouraged for library directors, staff, volunteers, and trustees who want to succeed and advance in their careers.

The Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB) has directed the certification program for the last 25 years. The main purpose of the program is to fulfill the Minimum Standards for Vermont public libraries, specifically when it comes to head librarians. According to these standards, public library directors must “”possess a library science degree, a Vermont certificate of library training, or have actively worked toward one of these in the past twelve months.”

As the roles of public librarians have expanded over the years, continuing education and certification have become increasingly important. Now, librarians must juggle a wide array of responsibilities ranging from developing community programs to working with advanced technology. The certification of library directors ensures that librarians are well-equipped to serve the public while maintaining high standards.

This article outlines the process of obtaining a Certificate of Public Librarianship in Vermont.

Public Librarian Certification Process

The technical name of the public librarian certification in Vermont is the Certificate of Public Librarianship.

After you’ve obtained a Certificate of Public Librarianship, you do not have to renew your certification annually. However, the Vermont Department of Libraries highly encourages librarians to continue their training with more classes and workshops.

The following sections outline the process of obtaining public librarian certification.

Education Requirements

To become a certified public librarian in Vermont, you must obtain 150 credits worth of courses and workshops within five years. You can earn these credits by participating in classes taught by the Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB), completing coursework offered by certain outside organizations, or participating in a pre-approved internship or independent study program.

You are required to take four basic course types offered by VTLIB. They are:

  • Collection Development
  • Reference
  • Public Library Administration
  • Cataloging and Organization of Library Materials

Additionally, you’re required to complete 10 credits worth of courses in library information technology.

To receive credit for attending a course or workshop, you must do more than just show up. You’ll need to actively participate and complete assignments given by the instructor. In the event that you do not meet these requirements, a letter will be sent to you and your library’s Board of Trustees.

In addition to courses offered by VTLIB, you may also receive credit for coursework taken from approved outside organizations. However, you can only obtain credit toward certification for courses that you’ve taken within the last five years.

For each academic course, you can receive no more than 30 credits. Any courses taken from any of the following institutions will be automatically approved:

  • Institutions accredited by the American Library Association (ALA)
  • The University of Vermont
  • Any institution in the Vermont State College system

To receive credit for any other coursework, you must receive prior approval from the Library Consultant – Continuing Education.

Experience Requirements

Library internships allow candidates to gain invaluable on-the-job experience. In Vermont, a library internship may also count toward your education requirements.

To receive education credit for your internship, you must be working under the supervision of an advisor or mentor. You may also participate in an internship at a library that is not your own.

If you’re working toward certification, you can apply for internship credit. However, you must also complete the four main required courses as well as an additional course that relates to the topic of your internship. You can receive up to 25 credits for each internship you participate in.

The Library Consultant – Continuing Education will determine the number of credits you are eligible to receive based on the number of hours you’ve worked. One full working day is equivalent to five credits, while a full work week totals 25 credits.

Prior to beginning your internship or or independent study project, you must receive approval from the Library Consultant – Continuing Education if you plan to count the experience toward your education requirements. Be sure to include the name of your advisor along with a detailed outline of your proposed project.

Apart from contributing to your education requirements, any relevant library experience will help prepare you for a role as a public librarian. If you are a library volunteer, staff member, or trustee, you can pursue certification to broaden your career advancement opportunities.

If you don’t have experience working in a library, it’s best to obtain some relevant experience before pursuing certification.

Testing Requirements

Other than the education requirements, there is no specific test you must take to be eligible for public library certification in Vermont. Continuing education courses for librarian certification will likely involve their own testing requirements.

Background Checks

The Vermont Department of Libraries may conduct a background check before awarding you with certification. The purpose of background checks is to uphold library standards and to keep the library staff, patrons, and surrounding communities safe.

During a background check, the Vermont Department of Libraries may verify your work history and look to see if you have a criminal record.

Application Process

To receive a Certificate of Public Librarianship, you must have completed 150 credits. You can obtain these credits by participating in courses offered by the Vermont Department of Libraries (VTLIB) or through approved public librarianship courses offered by other organizations. If you receive approval from VTLIB, you may also substitute credits from an internship or independent study.

VTLIB maintains records of candidate participation in courses and workshops via attendance sheets. However, you should also keep track of your own continuing education credits.

If you are eligible for public librarian certification, you can apply at any time via the Vermont library’s online application. Along with your application, you’ll need to submit your Continuing Education Record as well as your Conference Attendance Record. Both of these forms can be found on the Vermont library’s website.

After you download and fill out the required forms, you will be able to submit them electronically when you submit your online application. There are no fees associated with this application.

As long as you’ve completed all of the necessary requirements by May 1, you will be awarded a Certificate of Public Librarianship at that year’s Vermont Library Conference. You can request a letter from the Library Consultant – Continuing Education at any time after you’ve completed the requirements, but your certificate will not be awarded until the conference.

If you have any questions about the certification program or application process, contact the Library Consultant – Continuing Education at the Vermont Department of Libraries.