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Be a better you: Advancing your career through certification American Library Association and ALA-Allied Professional Association Certification Programs Nancy Bolt Public Library Association National Conference March 2010 Portland, Oregon Certification Defined

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nancy bolt public library association national conference march 2010 portland oregon

Be a better you: Advancing your career through certificationAmerican Library Association and ALA-Allied Professional Association Certification Programs

Nancy Bolt

Public Library Association National Conference

March 2010

Portland, Oregon

certification defined
Certification Defined

Certification attests to the possession by an individual of a specified body of knowledge and/or skills. Certification can occur at entry level, as part of career development, or as recognition of career achievement. It may be voluntary or mandatory.

state certifications
State Certifications

22 states have certifications:

  • some require public library certification by law
  • Some have fees
  • All have different renewal durations (2-5 yrs)
  • Some states provide different certifications by grade level
  • Some states require certification for library directors, others are strongly encouraged
  • Some require certification to practice librarianship
Certified Public




cpla why apply
CPLA – Why apply?

My career goals are to continually improve my skills and knowledge in order to improve and streamline existing library services and to manage library personnel as a leader. – Debra Czarnik (Cape Coral, FL)

cpla competencies
CPLA Competencies

Core standards

  • Budget and Finance
  • Management of Technology
  • Organization and Personnel Administration
  • Planning and Management of Buildings

Elective standards

  • Current Issues
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing
  • Politics and Networking
  • Service to Diverse Populations
management of technology
Management of Technology
  • The candidate is expected to:
    • Determine the technology requirements of the library.
    • Determine how well the technology meets the needs of the library.
    • Recommend technologies for the library.
    • Make purchasing decisions related to technology.
cpla candidates who are they
CPLA Candidates – Who are they?
  • 134 Public librarians in the US
  • 9 years of supervisory experience
  • Graduates of more than 40 library schools
  • Directors, managers and managers-to-be
  • Excited about CPLA courses!

There are 18 graduates already!

Program began in 2006

cpla providers who are they
CPLA Providers – Who are they?
  • University of North Texas LE@D
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Public Library Association (PLA)
  • MLIS from an ALA accredited Library School
  • Three years experience in a public library
  • Management or supervisory experience
cpla process for applicants
CPLA Process for Applicants
  • Complete the application at
  • Submit the fee of $250 for ALA members
  • Once approved (reviews are quarterly), enroll in courses -
  • Submit course evaluations with fee of $45 per competency for ALA members
  • Complete four core and three electives within 5 years
  • Enjoy the CPLA designation!
cpla more information
CPLA® – More information?


Jenifer Grady


800-545-2433, x2424


library support staff certification lssc program

Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC) Program

Sponsored by the

American Library Association

and the ALA-Allied Professional Association,

In cooperation with the Western Council of State Libraries

Funded by IMLS

why is certification needed
Why Is Certification Needed?

69% of all library staff are library support staff

In a national survey LSS said they *

supported national certification (87%)

supported national LSS standards (76%)

believe certification would improve public service (66%)

*Survey conducted by the ALA Library Support Staff Interests Round Table (LSSIRT) in 2004


why lss are interested
Why LSS Are Interested

From November 2008 LSS survey:

Recognition for experience, education, and/or skills

Learn new things about the library field

Provide better service to library users

Contribute to improvement of the library


program approved
Program Approved!

July 13, 2009 by ALA Executive Board

Also by PLA, five other ALA divisions and LSSIRT

Program Began!

January 25, 2010


lssc features
LSSC Features:

Affordable and accessible

A mix of required and elective competencies

Establishes national, basic standards

Evaluates prior learning and new learning

Reciprocal at state level(if approved by state)

A valid assessment of competencies

Not a guarantee of raise or promotion


competency sets
Competency Sets


Foundations of Library Service

Communication and Teamwork



Access Services

Adult Readers’ Advisory Services

Cataloging and Classification

Collection Management

Reference and Information Services

Supervision and Management

Youth Services


technology competencies
Technology Competencies

Library Support Staff will know:

1. General trends and developments of appropriate technology in all library functions and services whether offered in the library or through remote access.

2. Technology’s role in creating, retrieving and delivering library resources, function and services.

3. The role and responsibility of libraries for introducing relevant applications of technology to the public, including assistive technology.

4. Basic computer operations needed to access library applications software and productivity tools.

5. Basic networking technologies and protocols.

6. Basic data security principles and best practices to ensure the integrity of data and the confidentiality of user activities.

7. Concepts and issues concerning the appropriate use of technology by different user groups

technology cont d
Technology (Cont’d)

Library Support Staff will be able to:

8. Adapt to changes in technology.

9. Transfer information gained from training into the work place.

10 Assist and train users to operate public equipment, connect to the internet, utilize library software applications and access library services from remote locations.

11. Use information discovery tools including the library’s catalog, core library databases and internet search engines.

12 Perform basic troubleshooting of technical problems and resolve or appropriately refer those problems.

13. Access and use basic assistive technologies, where appropriate, to ensure that all users have equitable access to technology.

assessment methodology

Recognize prior learning and new learning

Two methods:

Approved courses

Portfolios (evaluated by experts)


  • Offered by
    • ALCTS
    • Fresno State University
    • Palomar
    • Louisiana State Library
    • Highline Community College
    • Lincoln Trail Library System
    • UW Madison
portfolio development suggestions
Portfolio Development Suggestions

Suggested activities for demonstrating each competency (you can design your own)

Upload to portfolio when done


portfolio development suggestions24
Portfolio Development Suggestions

Competency 5. Basic networking technologies and protocols.

Suggested Activities:

5.1 Describe the purpose and use for each of the following connection types: phone, ethernet, serial, parallel printer, USB, cable and fireware. Identify which of these technologies or protocols are present in the library in which you work, or a library with which you are familiar, and how they are used in that library.

5.2 Create a guide or tutorial for library users to explain how to connect to a library’s wireless network. Include definitions for terms associated with wireless networking.

policies and procedures
Policies and Procedures

High school diploma or equivalent

One year of library experience, from any type of library

Four years to complete 6 competency sets

Fee of $325 for ALA members (includes subscription to online portfolio)

Certification is for four years

Renewal will be required


benefits of certification
Benefits of Certification

Maryland & Minnesota Surveys

  • Managers and LSS report library users are better served by staff with certification.
  • LSS believe they understand library service better.
  • LSS report more confidence serving users.
  • Managers report that LSS contribute more to operations & success.
library managers can help
Library Managers Can Help!

Encourage staff to participate

Provide financial assistance

Grant time off to complete coursework/portfolios

Allow interaction with staff for assignments

Recognize accomplishments

Give candidates increased responsibility


lssc more information
LSSC – More Information?


Karen Strege

206 829 8821

206 407 9756 (cell)

Nancy Bolt

303 642 0338

303 905 9347 (cell)