Did you know that in Indiana, professional librarians need to be certified? The level of professional certificate required depends on a combination of the library’s district population size and the librarian’s position within the library itself. Having professional standards not only provides that library patrons are getting a certain level of competence when being assisted by a librarian, but is also the law in Indiana.
The professional rules for librarians are found in 590 IAC 5. The Indiana Library and Historical Board, which governs the Indiana State Library, is responsible for promulgating the rules for librarian certification. Periodically, the Indiana Library and Historical Board promulgates updates to the certification rules. The updates are primarily a result of changes desired by the broader Indiana library community. Prior to promulgating any rule changes, focus groups are created which are made up of librarians from various size libraries throughout the state. Feedback is provided by the librarian focus groups and the rule changes are primarily a result of the feedback from those groups.
As of Jan. 1, 2023, several new changes took effect as a result of the most recent rule changes enacted by the Indiana Library and Historical Board. There were some small tweaks and clarifications made to the certification rule, as well as a reorganization of the applicable definitions. However, several substantive changes took effect.
The amount of professional library work done in the normal course of the librarian’s daily activities which triggers the need to be certified is now 75%. So, if a librarian is doing professional librarian work 75% of the time or more, he or she needs to be certified. Previously, the threshold was 50%.
Indiana librarians must attend continuing education courses and earn a certain number of credits for attending such courses. The credits are known as Librarian Education Units or LEUs. The rules regarding what LEUs can count towards certification renewal were updated to make an additional category of activity eligible for LEUs. Additionally, there is no longer a sub-category of LEUs known as Technology LEUs required. Last, LEUs may be counted that were earned during a limited period of time that pre-dates the librarian actually receiving their first certificate or temporary permit.
There are two lower-level certificates for which specific college courses were required. Now, librarians may use any college level library course taken from an accredited college or university when applying for those lower-level certificates.
Specialist certificates are no longer issued. Specialist certificates were issued to individuals in non-librarian professional roles. There is a small number of folks who have these certificates and those certificates will still be valid at the respective libraries for the individual’s current position. The LEU requirements for specialist certificate holders have decreased.
Starting Jan. 1, 2023, certified librarians must keep all LEU certificates for 90 days after the later of the date their recently renewed certificate expired or the date they renewed their certificate if they renewed it after it expired. This change is to ensure they will still have their LEU certificates to prove compliance if they renew their librarian certificate late and are audited.
Directors of libraries serving a population of fewer than 3,000 who apply for certification Jan. 1, 2023 or later, must qualify for or be working towards an LC 1, 2, 3, 4, or the LC 7 certificate. Previously, the were able to also hold and LC 5 or 6 level certificate.
This blog post was written by Sylvia Watson, library law consultant and legal counsel, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Sylvia.