Minnesota Opportunities for Reference Excellence

Minnesota Voluntary Certification Program

Minnesota Voluntary Certification is a program intended to improve library service in Minnesota by encouraging library employees to acquire, maintain and develop their knowledge and skills. It was a pilot project for three years (1997 - May 2000), designed to address competencies needed by those working in public libraries. It is now an ongoing program specifically for non-MLS staff.

You can check out the Minnesota Voluntary Certification Program website at http://www.arrowhead.lib.mn.us/certification/ for more information.

The MORE Manual fits into voluntary certification by addressing specific competencies in training sessions and by working through the practice sheets in the Manual.

Certification is broken down into Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 (basic) addresses 50 competencies and requires 60 contact hours. Competencies cover the areas of Philosophy, Public Services, Technical Services and Technology. The Philosophy competencies are met by attending "What is Library Service" Day 1 and Day 2 workshops (10 contact hours) and completing assignments. The remaining 50 hours are self-selected for the competencies identified for your development needs. Level 2 (advanced), known as Career Renewal, has been developed, and is not required to be certified. Those who wish to be certified at the advanced level must complete Level 1 first or have an MLS degree.

Certification gives you evidence of completing the program and the work that it entails. It is visible proof that you have completed a program of development of 50 library competencies.

This program is endorsed and supported by the regional public library systems, the Office of Library Development and Services, the Minnesota Library Association, and the multi-type library systems.

In the United States, more than 30 states have some form of certification program for public library staff. Less than half are mandatory programs, the others are voluntary programs. Only Minnesota's is specifically for library support staff. Most programs are designed specifically for administrators of small public libraries.

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This page was updated on October 7, 2003.