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Public Library Director Certification

The division issues certificates to public librarians, per Wis. Stat. sec. 43.09(1). Qualifications for certification are based on education, professional training, and experience. Certification for public library directors has been part of Wisconsin law since 1921, as a way to ensure that the public libraries in the state are administered by highly qualified library personnel. Three (3) certification levels exist for public library directors; the statutory grade level required of a director depends upon the population of the municipality (or municipalities) that established that library.

For more details, please refer to the Certification Manual for Wisconsin Public Library Directors.

Applying for Public Library Director Certification

 

Who Should Apply

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).

Qualified non-directors may also apply for certification, using the same application procedures outlined below.

When to Apply

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.

How to Apply

Due to COVID-19, 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 below for details on what is needed, based on certification type).
  3. Scan (or photograph with a smart phone) 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:

  • Completed application form PI-2450
    • Section I: General - Complete with your information
    • Section II: Type of Certification - Check boxes for Grade I, and First Regular
    • 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)
    • Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  • Transcript (official or unofficial) OR copy of a diploma that demonstrates conferred Master’s degree in Library Science from an ALA-accredited institution.
  • Check for $50 made payable to DPI (no cash please)

Scan and email copies, then mail all physical copies to DPI as described in “How to Apply.”

 

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

  • Completed application form PI-2450
    • Section I: General - Complete with your information
    • Section II: Type of Certification - Check boxes for Grade II, and First Temporary
    • 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)
    • Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  • Transcript (official or unofficial) that demonstrates conferred Bachelor’s degree (AND non-library Masters transcript if applicable)
  • 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.
  • Check for $10 made payable to DPI (no cash please)

Scan and email copies and then mail all physical copies to DPI as described in "How to Apply."

 

First Time Applicant, 54+ College Credits:

  • Completed application form PI-2450
    • Section I: General - Complete with your information
    • Section II: Type of Certification - Check boxes for Grade III, and First Temporary
    • 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)
    • Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  • Transcript (official or unofficial) of all college credits taken, demonstrating at least 54 semester credits, 27 of which must be in the liberal arts.
  • 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.
  • Check for $10 made payable to DPI (no cash please)

Scan and email copies, then mail all physical copies to DPI as described in “How to Apply.”

 

Renewal of Temporary Certificate (Grades II and III)

  • Completed application form PI-2450
    • Section I: General - Complete with your information
    • 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).
    • 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)
    • Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  • 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.
  • 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.

Scan and email copies, then mail all physical copies to DPI as described in “How to Apply.”

First Regular Certificate, After Completing the Required Library Courses

  • Completed application form PI-2450
    • Section I: General - Complete with your information
    • 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).
    • 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)
    • Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  • 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.
  • 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.

Scan and email copies, then mail all physical copies to DPI as described in “How to Apply.”

 

Renewal of Regular Certificate, Regardless of Grade Level

  • Completed application form PI-2450
    • Section I: General - Complete with your information
    • 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).
    • 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)
    • Section IV: Signature - Sign and date
  • 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.
  • 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.

Scan and email copies, then mail all physical copies to DPI as described in “How to Apply.”

 

 

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

 

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