Librarian & Librarianship Certification

To be eligible to receive public funds under the 4.5.2 New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) library directors in communities with a population of 3,000 - 15,000+ are required to obtain certification. Library directors in communities with a population of fewer than 3,000 are not required to obtain a certificate.

Certification is mandated by statute in the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA), Chapter 18, Articles 2-8 through 2-18. To view the statute, visit the the New Mexico Compilation Commission website

 18-2-15. Certificates required.
A. A permanent professional librarian's certificate is required for the chief librarian of any library:
(1) supported in whole or in part by public funds, and serving a municipality or other political subdivision having a population in excess of fifteen thousand persons as shown by the last federal decennial census; or  
(2) of any state agency or state-supported institution.  
B. A grade I librarian's certificate is required for the chief librarian of any library, supported in whole or in part by public funds, serving a municipality or other political subdivision having a population of at least three thousand, but not more than ten thousand persons, as shown by the last federal decennial census.  
C. A grade II librarian's certificate is required for the chief librarian of any library, supported in whole or in part by public funds, serving a municipality or other political subdivision having a population of at least ten thousand and one, but not more than fifteen thousand persons, as shown by the last federal decennial census.  
D. The provisions of this section do not apply to libraries of public schools or county law libraries.

***The Grade I and Grade II certification exam is not designed to be a teaching tool for training library staff. The purpose of administering such exams is to certify that public library directors serving a community of 3,000 - 15,000 who do not hold a MLS/MLIS have an understanding of library management. If you are not a current library director, but would like to learn more about librarianship, please see #14 in the Certification Exam FAQs.***

Types of Certification

How to Obtain Permanent Professional Librarian Certification

  1. Submit a completed application and $10.00 fee to the Development Bureau.
  2. Request Official Transcripts from the American Library Association accredited college or university you received your MLS/MLIS from and submit with application. Official transcripts can be sent directly to the Development Bureau from the college or university.

How to Obtain Grade I or Grade II Certification Through Coursework (No Exam)

  1. Submit a completed application and $10.00 fee to the Development Bureau.
  2. Request Official Transcripts showing library science courses from the college or university attended and submit with application. Official transcripts can be sent directly to the Development Bureau from the college or university.

How to Obtain Grade I or Grade II Certification Through Exam

The New Mexico librarianship exam is designed and intended to be administered to public library directors. As of January 1, 2017 only current public library directors may apply to take the Grade I or Grade II certification exams. See the Certification Exam Application Process section for further information on when to submit an application, etc.

  1. Submit a completed application and $20.00 fee to the Development Bureau.
  2. If offered, attend a study session (not required, but recommended).
  3. Take the exam at the New Mexico State Library and complete portfolio component(s).

Grade I

Completion of certification exam with a passing grade of 70 or above; and submission of one (1) portfolio piece within 30 days of taking the exam, receiving a passing score. Portfolio piece information will be attached to the exam.

Grade II

Completion of certification exam with a passing grade of 80 or above; and submission of two (2) portfolio pieces within 30 days of taking the exam, receiving a passing score. Portfolio piece(s) information will be attached to the exam.

How to Obtain Temporary Certification

  1. Submit a completed application and $20.00 fee to the Development Bureau.
  2. Include the written recommendation for temporary certification with application and payment.

Certification Exam Application Process

IMPORTANT: Beginning January 1, 2017 all Grade I and Grade II exams must be completed at the New Mexico State Library.

Each calendar year, there are two quarters in which current public library directors may apply and take either the Grade I or Grade II certification exam.

Note: Applications for obtaining a Permanent Professional certificate or obtaining a Grade I or Grade II certificate through coursework are not subject to the quarterly schedule.

Applications are accepted each quarter within a 2 week time-frame. The applicant has 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 (approximately 6 hours)

Certification exam applicants may take the exam without attending a study session. However, participation in a study session is strongly encouraged. While the Library Foundations guide covers many areas of librarianship, 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 for managing and working in a New Mexico public library.

Study sessions occur each quarter as schedules allow. Information regarding study sessions is discussed with applicants each quarter.

Exams – Grade I & II Information

Certification Exam Information

  1. Certification Application
  2. Library Foundations (Version 1.0)
  3. Portfolio Grading Rubric
  4. Study Session Agenda
  5. FAQs about the Certification Exam
  6. Core Competencies for New Mexico Library Directors and Staff

For more information, contact: The Library Development Bureau @ 1-800-340-3890 or 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.