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For Library Directors

Serving as a public library director can be one of the most interesting, challenging, and rewarding jobs that our society has to offer. The opportunity to make a difference in a community and in the lives of the people who live in that community is limited only by your abilities, training, knowledge, commitment, and desire.

The information below-- and within the other Governance & Administration sections of this website-- will provide you with some of the essential information that you need to succeed in your position as a public library director in Wisconsin.

Who Runs the Library?

The mission of most public libraries is to support the educational, recreational, and informational needs of the community. Providing a large number of services to meet the needs of a diverse population requires a large supporting cast, including trustees, the library director and staff, ancillary groups like Friends and Foundations, and representatives of municipal government. When all members of the team know their responsibility and carry out their particular tasks, the library can run smoothly. When one of the players attempts to take on the job of another, friction may cause a breakdown.

The following resources may provide assistance in clarifying the roles and responsibilities of each player on the team:

Roles and Responsibilities Matrix

New Director Orientation Checklist (Winnefox)

Sample Trustee Orientation Checklist 

Public Librarian Certification

The division issues certificates to public librarians, per Wis. Stat. sec. 43.09(1). Qualifications for certification are based on education, training, and experience. Certification for public library directors is required in Wisconsin to ensure that the public libraries in the state are administered by highly qualified library personnel. The statutory grade level required of a director depends upon the population of the municipality(s) that established that library.

Certification Manual for Wisconsin Public Library Directors cover pageThe Certification Manual for Wisconsin Public Library Directors contains information about applying for certification, types of certifications available, certification renewal, and statutory compliance.

PI-2450 Certification Application

PI-2453 Continuing Education Activity Report

PI-2454 CE Summations

How to Apply for Certification

Administrators of public library systems, county libraries, county library services, municipal, joint municipal, and tribal public libraries established under Chapter 43 (except Milwaukee Public Library) must hold certification, per Wis. Stat. sec. 43.09(1) and Wis. Admin. Code PI 6.03(2). Certification is also a public library system membership requirement, per s. 43.15(4)(c)(6). Non-directors may also apply for certification if employed at a Wisconsin public library in the same manner as described below.

Directors must be either appropriately certified or eligible for certification upon employment. Directors eligible for regular certification must apply immediately upon employment if they are not already certified. Directors eligible for temporary certification must apply within three months of employment. If an applicant applies for temporary certification after the first 90 days of employment, certification will be denied per Wis. Admin. Code PI 6.03(6).

Applicants for library director positions do not need to be certified prior to accepting a position. However, an applicant must be eligible-- they must have already obtained the appropriate general education requirements to be certified at the level required of the position. Temporary certificates may be granted and renewed for Grade II and Grade III director positions for up to four (4) years in order to complete the library courses required to obtain a certificate with regular status.

NOTE: Until further notice, all applications MUST be submitted via email. The following steps must be taken to successfully submit an application for certification.

  1. Complete form [PI-2450] for first-time and renewal applicants.
  2. Compile the supporting documents necessary for certification (see "What to Send" section below for details on what is needed, based on certification type).
  3. Scan (or photograph with a smartphone) and email the application and supporting documents to LibraryCertification@dpi.wi.gov.
  4. Place the physical copies of these items, PLUS a check made payable to DPI in the correct amount (see below for details; payment is nonrefundable), in an envelope and mail via USPS to:
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Attn: Accounts Receivable
125 South Webster Street
P.O. Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
 

NOTE: If a separation of application and payment is anticipated due to payment by municipal check, please supply the municipality with a photocopy of your completed application form and request that they submit it with the check. This will help our office to process your application expeditiously.​​

What to Send

Candidates for director positions may be told which certification level they must be eligible for in order to accept the position; this is the minimum level of certification a candidate must have. However, many applicants qualify for a higher level of certification than is required for the position they have just accepted. It makes good sense to apply for the highest level of certification that the applicant can apply for. Keep this in mind when completing the application.

First Time Applicant, Masters Degree from ALA-accredited program in Library Science:

  1. Completed application form PI-2450
    1. Section I: General - Complete with your information
    2. Section II: Type of Certification - Check boxes for Grade I, and First Regular
    3. Section III: Enclosures - Check boxes for Master’s in library science (left side of the application) and Certification Fee $50 (in bolded box on lower right)
    4. Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  2. Transcript (official or unofficial) OR copy of a diploma that demonstrates conferred Master’s degree in Library Science from an ALA-accredited institution.
  3. Check for $50 made payable to DPI (no cash please)

First Time Applicant, Bachelor’s Degree, or Master’s in field other than Library Science:

  1. Completed application form PI-2450
    1. Section I: General - Complete with your information
    2. Section II: Type of Certification - Check boxes for Grade II, and First Temporary
    3. Section III: Enclosures - Check boxes for
      • Bachelor’s degree (whichever applies) on right side of the application)
      • Official documentation of required library courses already completed OR Schedule for completion of course requirements (whichever applies)
      • Certification Fee $10 (in bolded box on lower right)
    4. Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  2. Transcript (official or unofficial) that demonstrates conferred Bachelor’s degree (AND non-library Masters transcript if applicable)
  3. Schedule of completion of the four (4) required library courses, indicating the semester and year that the applicant plans to take each course and the school at which they will be taken; OR a schedule of completion of the Advanced Administration course if the applicant has a minor in Library Science; OR certificates of completion for any of the required courses already taken.
  4. Check for $10 made payable to DPI (no cash please)

First Time Applicant, 54+ College Credits:

  1. Completed application form PI-2450
    1. Section I: General - Complete with your information
    2. Section II: Type of Certification - Check boxes for Grade III, and First Temporary
    3. Section III: Enclosures - Check boxes for
      • At least 54 semester credits (on right side of the application)
      • Official documentation of required library courses already completed OR Schedule for completion of course requirements (whichever applies)
      • Certification Fee $10 (in bolded box on lower right)
    4. Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  2. Transcript (official or unofficial) of all college credits taken, demonstrating at least 54 semester credits, 27 of which must be in the liberal arts.
  3. Schedule of completion of the four (4) required library courses, indicating the semester and year that the applicant plans to take each course and the school at which they will be taken; OR certificates of completion for any of the required courses already taken.
  4. Check for $10 made payable to DPI (no cash please)

Renewal of Temporary Certificate (Grades II and III):

  1. Completed application form PI-2450
    1. Section I: General - Complete with your information
    2. Section II: Type of Certification - Check boxes for Grade II or III (whichever is applicable), and Renewal of Temporary. Include expiration date of current certification (mm/yy).
    3. Section III: Enclosures - Check boxes for
      • Renewal of Temporary Certification section - Official documentation of library courses completed since last certification
      • Certification Fee $10 (in bolded box on lower right)
    4. Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  2. Proof of completion of any of the four (4) required library courses taken since the last certification date. This may include certificates of completion or a student record that shows the course has been successfully completed.
  3. Check for $10 made payable to DPI (no cash please)

NOTE that you do not need to resubmit any documents that have been previously submitted. Please do not resend transcripts, schedules, or certificates of completion if they have been submitted previously. When you have completed all four (4) courses, you may apply for First Regular certification.

First Regular Certificate, After Completing the Required Library Courses:

  1. Completed application form PI-2450
    1. Section I: General - Complete with your information
    2. Section II: Type of Certification - Check boxes for Grade II or III (whichever is applicable), and First Regular. Include expiration date of current certification (mm/yy).
    3. Section III: Enclosures - Check boxes for
      • First Regular Certification section - Official documentation of library courses completed since last certification
      • Certification Fee $50 (in bolded box on lower right)
    4. Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  2. Proof of completion of any of the four (4) required library courses taken since the last certification date. This may include certificates of completion or a student record that shows the course has been successfully completed. All four courses must be successfully completed to apply for this certification type.
  3. Check for $50 made payable to DPI (no cash please)

NOTE that you do not need to resubmit any documents that have been previously submitted. Please do not resend transcripts, schedules, or certificates of completion if they have been submitted previously.

Renewal of Regular Certificate, Regardless of Grade Level:

  1. Completed application form PI-2450
    1. Section I: General - Complete with your information
    2. Section II: Type of Certification - Check boxes for Grade I, II, or III (whichever is applicable), and Renewal of Regular. Include expiration date of current certification (mm/yy).
    3. Section III: Enclosures - Check boxes for
      • Renewal of Regular Certification section - Validated Annual Summations of Continuing Education Activities
      • Certification Fee $50 (in bolded box on lower right)
    4. Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  2. Annual Summations of Continuing Education Activities (Form PI-2454) for the 5-year certification period, which must be approved and signed by a public library system CE validator prior to submission.
  3. Check for $50 made payable to DPI (no cash please)

NOTE that Continuing Education Activity Reports are not submitted to DPI except in very specific circumstances; they are used by the public library system to validate an applicant’s continuing education activities. Please do not send CE Activity Reports with your application.

Summary of Certification Requirements
Municipal Population 6,000 or more 3,000 to 5,999 Fewer than 3,000
Grade Level

Grade I

Minimum education requirement is a bachelor’s degree

Grade II

Minimum education requirement is a bachelor’s degree

Grade III

Minimum education requirement is 54 semester credits

Required Library Courses Master’s degree in library science from ALA-accredited library school

12 semester credits of coursework or the equivalent, approved by the division, in the following areas:

  • Basic Public Library Administration
  • Advanced Public Library Administration
  • Organization and Management of Collections
  • Public and Community Services

OR

Bachelor’s degree with a minor in library science and 3 semester credit coursework in Advanced Public Library Administration.

 

Required Time Frame (Temporary Certificate) No specified courses or sequence for courses. The master’s degree in library science must be completed within one year. The four courses must be completed within four years. The Basic public library administration course must be completed by the end of the first year and at least one of the other courses each subsequent year not to exceed 4 years.
Continuing Education Requirements (Regular Certificate)
  • 100 hours in the five-year period prior to recertification
  • At least 10 hours of the 100 hours must be technology-related training
Certification Courses and Institutions

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Division for Libraries and Technology (DLT) requires coursework to receive a Grade II or Grade III public library director certificate. Grade II certificates may be issued to applicants holding a bachelor's degree along with a minor in library science; the minor in library science must be supplemented by three (3) semester credits of coursework, or the equivalent, in advanced public library administration. The total number of credits required to be completed is 12.

Credits (CR) are awarded by colleges or graduate schools toward a degree program. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are awarded upon taking courses offered by the School of Library and Information Studies, The iSchool at UW Madison, that partially fulfill requirements for public library director certification in Wisconsin.

  • Basic Public Library Administration 
  • Advanced Public Library Administration
  • Organization & Management of Collections
  • Public and Community Library Services

UW-Madison
Anna Palmer (608) 263-4452 
Meredith Lowe (608) 890-0364
School of Library and Information Studies
The iSchool at UW Madison
Helen C. White Hall, 4th Floor
600 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706

Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC)
Vince Mussehl (715) 833-6285
Library & Information Services Program (AAS)
620 W. Clairemont Ave.
Eau Claire, WI 54701

UW-Whitewater
Sarah Beth Nelson (262) 472-1463 
UW - Whitewater
Educational Foundations
6005 Winther Hall
Whitewater, WI 53190

Administrative Essentials

Administrative Essentials cover page

 The Administrative Essentials for Wisconsin Public Library Directors is the companion document to the Trustee Essentials.

A look at the table of contents quickly demonstrates how complex the position of public library director has become. As a public library director, you are expected to know everything from how to work with a board of trustees to how to interpret copyright law. You are expected to be able to develop and administer a budget for the library and to comply with complex government regulations on a wide variety of topics. Most importantly, you must oversee the effective delivery of library and information services to the community.

This handbook can be particularly helpful to directors of small public libraries and those with limited prior administrative training and experience. At the same time, it will offer a valuable review for experienced library directors and can help focus thinking and suggest resources when dealing with challenging or unique situations.

Director Boot Camp

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This page is under construction. More coming soon!

 

For questions about this information, contact Shannon Schultz (608) 266-7270