New Mexico State Library

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Certification for 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.


New Mexico Certification for Public Librarians is intended to:

  • Be administered to public library directors, but may be taken by anyone who works or is interested in working in a public library.
  • 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.

To participate in the Public Librarian Certification Program, an application is required.

***Certification for librarians has been placed on hold until June 15, 2015***

As of February 18, 2015 the New Mexico State Library will not accept any applications for certification until June 15, 2015. Please note: Permanent professional certification will still be issued during this time, as well as certifications for courses completed in library science.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Professional and personal reasons for becoming certified:

  • Library director certification is required by NMSA 18-2-8 for librarians 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.

  • Personal fulfillment.

  • Career enhancement.



  • 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.



First a person must apply to take the exam.  Fees for the examination are $10.00.  For certification without examination,  the fee is $5.00. A person may take the exam at any time.  On the application form, there is a place to indicate the approximate date and the 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.

It is up to the person wanting to take the exam to send the application materials and fee to the Continuing Education Coordinator and to identify an individual willing to serve as a proctor for the exam. The proctor should contact the CE Coordinator at the State Library directly, either by phone or email (see contact info below) and provide job title and other pertinent information.


A minimum grade of 70% on the exam is required for certification.


1.  Certification Exam Study Guide Bibliography

2.  Companion Guide for Library Directors and Staff

For more information, contact:
Library Development Bureau
Phone:  1-800-340-3890 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


School Library Endorsement is available through the New Mexico Public Education Department.
New Mexico State Department of Education.