ALA-APA Update Fall 2010

Invest in yourself (or your staff!) with certification

CPLA LogoThe Certified Public Library Administrator Program

The CPLA Program with 130 candidates and 35 graduates from libraries small and large, is making a difference.  By completing seven short-courses, CPLA candidates have found ways to do their jobs better, and candidates as well as graduates have capitalized on opportunities ranging from board membership to publishing to receiving promotions and directorships. One candidate said, “This program reaffirmed much of what I learned in my MBA program, but its specificity to running a library made it extraordinarily practical and worthwhile.”  Another summarized what many have reported, “Most of my coursework through CPLA has had immediate payback for my library.”

Several systems are supporting librarians through CPLA for their professional development.  Marcellus Turner, Executive Director of the Jefferson County Public Library in Colorado, said, “In public libraries, we often see competent people promoted to management, based on the assumption that a librarian’s experiences and education adequately prepare them to handle all of the jobs that occur in libraries.  As we all know, nothing could be further from the truth.  When we begin to see them struggling with project management, budgeting, marketing, politics and networking (hey, I still struggle with these, too), only then do we realize that library education didn’t cover “everything” and that working in a library doesn’t expose or develop “all” of the skills and talents needed to cover non-library assignments.”

Turner notes that his staff, “now see “bigger” pictures; and they are able to help us articulate our vision, work, challenges and plans with both staff and the public.  They are eager to share what they have learned and developed a network with other CPLA students.  Equally important is the prescribed coursework designed to use the resources and internal structure of their home library to address the work of the classes.  What better way for them to understand their own library than to use their own library as their training ground?”

The application fee is $250 for ALA members and the total cost of the program is approximately $2700 over five years.   There are four deadlines per year for application review.  While this seems like a significant investment, weigh it against the acquired skills of knowing how to justify a budget, managing personnel, operating and building new facilities, understanding the community and how to communicate with stakeholders, writing successful grants and gaining confidence.

 Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC) Program

The LSSC Program began in January 2010 and now has more than 115 applicants.  The most frequently asked questions are who, what, why, when and how, so here are your answers:

Who?  LSS in public and academic libraries (though not exclusively) who have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, have worked the equivalent of one full-time year within the last five (paid or unpaid)

What?  The LSSC Program is a voluntary, national certification that grew out of COPE III and LSS requests that ALA develop national standards and a certification program.  It includes 10 competency sets or standards, of which candidates complete six.  Three are required – Foundations of Library Service, Communication and Teamwork, Technology – and three are electives. 

Why?  The reasons candidates apply vary.  They talk about strengthening their skills, improving job performance, gaining knowledge about the library and librarianship beyond their current positions, legitimizing their contributions to the library and personal satisfaction.  Each person has a different motivation.

When?  The program began accepting applications in January 2010 and there are no application deadlines.  You can apply at any time!  The application fee is $325 for ALA members.

How?  This is the big question.  LSS said they wanted to be able to demonstrate what they already know so candidates can create online portfolios (there are webinars, portfolio development suggestions, guides and staff to help with developing portfolios).  Candidates can also take approved courses, many of which are online.  Candidates have a choice of completing six competency sets using any combination of portfolios and courses.  There are no additional fees for portfolio submission; courses have fees determined by the providers.

2010 Librarian Salary Survey now available in print and database

In the midst of tough economic times, job shortages and cutbacks, the 2010 edition of the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian – Public and Academic revealed average increases across all six position types, ranging from two percent for managers of support staff to 13 percent for directors of public and academic libraries. More than 580 library directors and human resources staff reported more than 11,000 salaries, giving this year’s survey a remarkable 35 percent response rate. The data are available in two ways – immediately for subscribers to the ALA-APA Library Salary Database and in print from the American Library Association (ALA) online store. Data can be used by employers to justify budgets, job seekers looking for salary ranges, human resources departments conducting pay equity studies, and researchers tracking compensation trends.

Summary reports analyzing the data are posted on the ALA-APA Improving Salaries page. 

Libraries may purchase the “ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian – Public and Academic” from the ALA Store at $81 for ALA members/$90 for non-members. Print purchasers may order through the ALA Store at The database is $50 for a 30-day and $150 for an annual subscription. Users may subscribe using the form at

 Library Worklife has a new open-access website

Library Worklife, covering topics of interest to the development of library staff, has a new website.  Subscriptions to LW are an ALA-institutional member benefit; a staff member is sent monthly alerts when the newsletter is updated.  Featured in recent issues are insights from the ALA Student to Staff program, job interviewing tips from an actor, storytelling as a motivational tool, going from support staff to MLS and results from a workplace wellness survey.

Also, we need interesting people, programs, and ideas to feature in Library Worklife.  Distributed monthly by the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), Library Worklife: HR E-News for Today’s Leaders covers issues that are important to all library employees, including work/life balance, salaries and benefits, career advancement, and training. 

Writing for Library Worklife is easy! Just submit an article that’s 200 to 1,200 words long. (This blurb is about 300 words – piece of cake!) Articles longer than 1,200 words may be accepted by arrangement with the editor.

Articles can be written in almost any style, from humorous pieces to serious academic research. We also accept editorials, individual profiles, excerpts from speeches, and reviews of human resources-related publications. Having your article published in Library Worklife is a great way to boost your résumé AND share your innovative ideas with thousands of other ALA members.

The possible topics are endless. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • “No one ever told me my job would include…”
  • Ways to motivate employees and improve morale
  • How your library is doing more with less
  • People and programs that are making a positive impact on libraries
  • Ways to increase diversity in the workplace
  • Tips for dealing with difficult people and challenging situations
  • How to provide training on a shoestring budget
  • Ways to reduce stress
  • Examples of outstanding mentoring
  • How technology has changed your job
  • Innovative perks that libraries offer to employees (massages? work-out facilities?)
  • How continuing education has paid off for you
  • Ways to improve teamwork

We’d love to hear about your experiences, successes, and challenges at work. For details on how to submit articles to Library Worklife, visit or email the ALA-APA Director, Lorelle R. Swader, at