Certification for Librarians
Certification Program for Public Librarians
Certification for New Mexico public librarians is mandated by statute in the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA), Chapter 18, Articles 2-8 through 2-18. You can find the statute using the New Mexico Compilation Commission website.
Purpose of Certification
New Mexico Certification for Public Librarians is intended to:
- Be administered to public library directors.
- Improve library service in New Mexico by developing the skills of public library directors and staff.
- Encourage public librarians to acquire and develop skills, through independent study and basic education.
- Provide resources and tools that may be used for managing a library, in developing policies and plans for the library, and in working with Boards and Friends of the Library groups.
Professional Reasons for Becoming Certified
- NMSA 18-2-15 states that certification is required for the chief librarian (a.k.a. library director) in communities over 3,000 as shown by the last federal decennial census and to receive public funds under the New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) 4.5.2.
- To improve library service throughout the state.
- Commitment to the profession of librarianship.
To participate in the Public Librarian Certification Program, an application and fee is required.
Types of Certification
- Permanent Professional Certification is required for the chief librarian (director) in communities that have populations of more than 15,000, as shown by the last federal decennial census. An MLS or MLIS from a college or university accredited by the American Library Association is required. Certification will be issued without examination upon submission of an official college transcript.
- Grade II Certification is required for the chief librarian (director) of communities having populations of 10,000 – 15,000, as shown by the last federal decennial census. Certification without examination is issued with either graduation from an accredited college or university with a minor in library science OR twenty-one (21) semester hours of library science courses beyond the requirements of Grade I Certification (30 hours).
- Grade I Certification is required for the chief librarian (director) of a community having a population of 3,000 – 10,000, as shown by the last federal decennial census. Certification without examination is issued upon completion of two (2) years of undergraduate work plus nine (9) hours of library science courses from an accredited college or university.
- Temporary Certification is issued for a one year period by the State Librarian in special cases upon written recommendation from a library board or the governing body of the community.
How to Obtain Permanent Professional Certification
- Submit a completed application to the Development Bureau, with $5.00 payment.
- Request Official Transcripts from the ALA accredited college or university you received your MLS from and submit with application. Official transcripts can be sent from the college or university to the Development Bureau directly.
How to Become Certified Through Coursework (No Exam)
- Submit a completed application to the Development Bureau, with $10.00 payment.
- Request Official Transcripts from the college or university attended and submit with application. Official transcripts can be sent from the college or university to the Development Bureau directly.
How to Become Certified Through Exam
- Submit a completed application to the Development Bureau, with $20.00 payment.
- Attend a study session.
- Take the exam with a proctor and complete portfolio component(s).
- Proctor submits exam.
- Applicant submits portfolio component(s) electronically to the Development Bureau (within 4 weeks of taking the exam).
- Development Bureau grades exam/portfolio piece(s) – if passing, certification is recommended to State Librarian.
- State Librarian issues certification.
IMPORTANT: Beginning October 1, 2016 the process for applying for and taking the Grade I and Grade II certification exams will move to a quarterly schedule.
- Applications will be accepted every quarter within a 2 week timeframe. The applicant will then have until the end of the quarter to take and pass the exam. Under one application and paid fee, the applicant may take the exam up to three (3) times in order to attain a passing grade.
- Study sessions will be scheduled and held each quarter. Locations TBD.
- 1st quarter – October through January
- 2nd quarter – February through May
- 3rd quarter – June through September
Note: Applications for becoming certified through coursework will not be subject to the quarterly schedule.
More information to come as October 1, 2016 nears.
How to Obtain Temporary Certification
- Submit a completed application to the Development Bureau, with $10.00 payment.
- Include the written recommendation for temporary certification with application and payment.
Levels and Requirements
Completion of certification exam with a passing grade of 70 or above; and submission of one (1) portfolio piece within 4 weeks of taking the exam, receiving a passing grade. Portfolio piece information will be attached to the exam.
Completion of certification exam with a passing grade of 80 or above; and submission of two (2) portfolio pieces within 4 weeks of taking the exam, receiving a passing grade. Portfolio piece(s) information will be attached to the exam.
Study Sessions (approximately 6 hours)
Certification applicants may take the exam at any time. However, participation in a study session is strongly encouraged, as study session attendance will best prepare a candidate for taking the exam. While the Library Foundations guide covers many areas of librarianship and much of the material needed to begin working in a library, it is not intended to be the only source used when preparing to take the certification exam. Applicants are encouraged to seek other quality materials to develop further knowledge and background needed to begin working in a New Mexico public library.
Other benefits of attending a live study session:
- Peer networking.
- Dialog to enrich the learning experience.
- A chance to ask and answer questions.
- Learn about tools and resources that will support a successful career in librarianship.
Study sessions occur on a quarterly basis. All dates are tentative until 6 weeks prior to the date, at which time the date will be confirmed or modified and sign-up will become available.
August 11, 2016
Santa Fe - New Mexico State Library
Exams – Grade I & II
Following attendance in a study session, the applicant can proceed with taking the exam for certification. The following guidelines are for the exam only; contact the Library Development Bureau for further information regarding portfolio submissions.
Completing the exam in a library setting is preferable, although the exam may be completed in a public space. Please indicate on the application the approximate date and specific location where the exam will be taken. Generally, exams are taken at a New Mexico public library that is convenient to the exam-taker's location.
The applicant must identify and contact a proctor for the exam. A proctor is typically an existing library director or another professional individual. Please indicate on the application the proctor's name, affiliation/title, contact phone number and email. The proctor may contact the Development Bureau for instructions on receiving the exam, proctoring, and submitting the exam.
Transmittal of Materials
Ideally, the exam will be submitted in typed format, electronically. If necessary, an applicant may choose to handwrite the exam; please note, illegible submissions may not be graded and returned to the applicant to re-submit.
The exam is designed to take the applicant an average of 2-4 hours. Exam time period should not exceed 6 hours.
The exam is designed to be “Closed Book.” Outside sources of any kind (flash drives, personal notes, the Library Foundations guide (f.k.a. study guide), and web access of any kind including smartphones, etc.) are not permitted in the testing area while the applicant is taking the exam.
Information regarding the portfolio piece(s) will be attached to the exam. Applicants will have 4 weeks from the time of taking the exam to complete and submit the piece(s) electronically to the Development Bureau.
Certification Exam Documents
- Librarian Certification Application
- Library Foundations (Version 1.0)
- Portfolio Grading Rubric
- Study Session Agenda
- FAQs about the Certification Exam
- Core Competencies for New Mexico Library Directors and Staff
School Library Endorsement is available through the New Mexico Public Education Department.