Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Library Support Staff Certification

Library Support Staff Certification Program
A Briefing for Discussion

The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded a Laura Bush - Librarians for the 21st Century grant to the American Library Association (ALA) and the Western Council of State Libraries to support the “Library Support Staff Certification Program” (LSSCP) project. This project is developing a competency-based certification program for the approximately 160,150 library workers in positions not requiring a Master’s Degree in Library Science. The primary target audience is public and academic library support staff. The project began in July 2007 with the hiring of Karen Strege and Nancy Bolt as Project Directors. An Advisory Committee was formed with representatives from ALA divisions, round tables, committees and the Western Council of State Libraries.

The proposal grew out of many years of studies conducted by ALA and state organizations calling for a certification program for library support staff (LSS). (See http://www.ala-apa.org/lsscp/LSSCPNarrative.pdf for the complete grant narrative and for citations to the relevant studies.) One of the more relevant studies occurred in 2005 when the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) sent a survey about professional development and certification to members of the Library Support Staff Interest Round Table (LSSIRT). Over 3,300 responded to the survey, and 86%of the respondents thought that a certification program would be beneficial; 76% said that nationally recognized professional standards were important; and 66% supported a national certification program to help them provide better service and grow in their understanding of librarianship.

The LSSCP Advisory Committee welcomes your comments on the Library Support Staff Certification Program (LSSCP). Send your comments to Jamie Bragg (jbragg@ala-apa.org) or to Jamie at ALA Headquarters, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. There will be an Open Forum on LSSCP at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Denver, CO, on Saturday, January 24 from 10:30am till noon at the Colorado Convention Center, Room 702. Comments will be accepted by mail or email until January 31, 2009, when revisions based on the comments will be made. All documents relating to LSSCP, are available at www.ala-apa.org/lsscp, including expanded versions of these topics. Those unable to attend the Open Forum at the Midwinter meeting may comment via blog postings at www.lsscp.blogspot.com, beginning December 19.

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