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, 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.
Why Become Certified
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.
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 Become Certified Through Coursework (No Exam)
- Submit a completed application to the Development Bureau, with payment ($5.00).
- Request Official Transcripts from college or university attended and submit with application.
How to Become Certified Through Exam
- Submit a completed application to the Development Bureau, with payment ($10.00).
- Attend a study session.
- Take the exam with a proctor, and complete portfolio component.
- Proctor submits exam.
- Development Bureau grades exam – if passing, certification is recommended to State Librarian.
- State Librarian issues certification.
Levels and Requirements
Completion of certification exam with a passing grade of 70 or above.
Completion of certification exam with a passing grade of 80 or above; and
Submission of portfolio within 4 weeks of taking the exam, receiving a passing grade.
Study Sessions (approximately 6 hours)
***CLOSED**Santa Fe -- New Mexico State Library
***Cancelled***Las Cruces – Thomas Branigan Memorial Library
Central location (tentative)
Sign up after 12/1/2015
We strongly encourage all certification applicants to participate in a study session. While the certification study 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. Not all the material covered in the exam is explicitly covered in the study guide. The study session will best prepare the candidate for taking the exam. We also encourage applicants 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 will be given 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.
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; the guidelines for Grade II portfolio submissions follow in the next section. A person may take the exam at any time.
Completing the exam in a library setting is preferable, although the exam may be completed in an public space. 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.
The applicant must identify and contact a proctor for the exam. A proctor is typically an existing library director or another professional individual. The proctor should contact 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 or personal notes are not permitted into the testing area and may not be reviewed while the applicant is taking the exam.
Contact the Library Development Bureau for further information.
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.