Certification of Library Technical Assistants

(Historical Document)

The certification of library technical assistants (LTAs) has been considered during the development of the ALA-APA Certification Program. This aspect of certification needs to be more fully developed by its proponents before it can be acted upon by ALA-APA. Library technical assistants are, therefore, not eligible to apply for certification in the first phase of this program. However, it is important that ALA-APA be receptive to the education and development needs of all workers in the library industry.

This initiative should proceed with the following major players:

  • The Council on Library/Media Technicians (COLT), which is affiliated with but not a formal part of ALA. COLT has as one of its objectives “to initiate, promote and support activities leading toward the appropriate placement, employment and certification of library support staff personnel”1 COLT and some of its local chapters (e.g., Utah and New York) are currently investigating an LTA certification program.

  • The ALA Library Support Staff Interests Round Table (LSSIRT) is a part of ALA but does not have the independent autonomy to initiate some new programs that divisions typically enjoy. LSSIRT in 1996 announced that it has an interest in national standards for certification, but it had “decided to focus on other equally important issues that include, but are not limited to, pay equity and increasing opportunities for professional development.”2

  • The ALA Committee on Education historically has had responsibility for the policy statement “Criteria for Programs to Prepare Library Technical Assistants.” This policy was last revised in 1979. A revision of this criteria statement recently was forwarded to ALA Council but returned to the Committee for review after the completion of the four task forces associated with the Congress on Professional Education.

  • The ACRL/CJCLS/Library/Media Technician Training Committee is largely made up of educators from two-year LTA training programs. This committee has had more interest in working toward accrediting programs than in certifying individuals.3

All four of the groups listed above have participated in the recent efforts to revise the Criteria Statement. All four need to be involved in any further efforts toward certification of library technical assistants or the accrediting of training programs.

Possible additional players include the following:

  • The ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) Advisory Committee which is the custodian of the newly revised Library and Information Studies Education and Human Resource Utilization Statement (formerly the Library Education and Personnel Utilization Statement) which was approved by ALA Council at Midwinter 2002.

  • The LAMA Human Resources Section (HRS) represents the employers and particularly the personnel specialists within the library industry.

  • The other ALA Divisions.

Next steps should include the following:

  • The ALA Committee on Education should resubmit the “Criteria for Programs to Prepare Library Technical Assistants” to Council for approval. Whether or not it is a perfect document, it is two decades more up-to-date than the current (1979) official ALA policy statement and reflected at the time it was drawn up the views of COLT, LSSIRT and the ACRL/CJCLS. It previously was accepted by the Committee on Education and the ALA Executive Board before it was submitted to Council. The draft document is being used in the field as the only available guide to best practices.

  • The ALA-APA Board should appoint a coalition task force with members from each of the interested ALA units to liaison with and support COLT in the investigation of LTA certification.

1 http://colt.ucr.edu/history.html

2 http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/lssirt/index.cfm

3 http://www.glendale.edu/cjcls/comfunc.htm

ALA LSSIRT STAND ON CERTIFICATION

The Executive Board of SSIRT, recognizing the importance of formal and informal educational development of support staff, discussed the issue of national standards for certification of support staff.

At this time, the SSIRT Executive Board has decided to focus on other equally important issues that include, but are not limited to, pay equity and increasing opportunities for professional development.

Adopted at the Support Staff Interests Round Table (SSIRT) Business Meeting Held Saturday, July 6, 1996 at the Sheraton Hotel, New York

Council On Library/Media Technicians

OBJECTIVESHISTORY

COLT OBJECTIVES

  • To function as a clearinghouse for information relating to library support staff personnel

  • To advance the status of library support staff personnel

  • To initiate, promote and support activities leading toward the appropriate placement, employment and certification of library support staff personnel

  • To promote effective communication between and among library staff at all levels

  • To initiate, promote and support research projects and publications for the advancement of knowledge and understanding among library support staff personnel

  • To study and develop curricula for the education of library support staff and develop appropriate standards for that education

  • To cooperate usefully with other organizations whose purposes and objectives are similar to and consistent with, those of COLT

ACRL/CJCLS/Library/Media Technician Training Committee

To explore, collect and disseminate information on Library Technical Assistant Training Programs; to provide channels of communications for sharing information on these programs; to explore establishing liaisons with Library Technical Assistant organizations; to investigate developing guidelines and standards for Library Technical Assistant Programs; to encourage publication of textbooks and other training materials.