Certified Public Library Administrator Program Governance

This document describes a process for governing the Certified Public Library Administrator Program (CPLA). It follows the template suggested by the National Organization for Competency Assurance. It is meant to provide a basis for PLA, ALA, LAMA, and ASCLA discussions about how to best manage this and future certification programs. The document builds on the business case submitted earlier. This process is also intended to provide a template for the governance of future certification programs.

Overriding goal

The primary reason the PLA, ALA, LAMA, and ASCLA (hereafter referred to as PLA, et al) want to certify library administrators is to assure sponsors of public libraries that certified librarians are capable administrators and managers. Typically masters degree programs in library science do not include administration and management courses. Therefore, the PLA et al want a program that:

  1. develops administration and management capability and
  2. recognizes members and non-members who have demonstrated proficiency in administration and management.

Methodology

The PLA et al established a certification committee whose membership represents the various organizations within the ALA. The committee is responsible for the design and development of a professional designation including the standards, requirements for eligibility, and the governance and administration procedures.

Vision

It is PLA el al’s vision that

  1. the CPLA designation be a recognized and respected credential by library administrators and their trustees, boards of directors, and community patrons and
  2. those who receive the credential be preferred candidates for library administrator positions.

Mission

The primary purpose of the credential is to prepare library administrators and recognize those who have demonstrated proficiency in:

  • Management of buildings.
  • Fund raising.
  • Budget and finance.
  • Personnel administration.
  • Management of technology.

And those who have demonstrated proficiency in at least two of the following areas:

  • Building alliances.
  • Leadership.
  • Safety and security.
  • Service diverse populations.

Governance

The Certification Review Committee. Oversight of the program is done by a five-person standing committee, from here on referred to as the Certification Review Committee or CRC. The membership of the CRC must include:

  • One member at large who is a certified library administrator by the PLA, but who need not be a member of the ALA or its affiliate associations.
  • One representative from the Public Library Association who ideally is certified.
  • One representative from the Library Administration and Management Association or ASCLA (rotating a shared position).<
  • One representative from the American Library Association.
  • A public member, someone who represents the general public served by public libraries.

Voting rights. All five members of CRC have voting rights.

Chair. One, other than the public member, will act as chair.

Terms. CRC members will serve non-renewable four-year terms. The position of chair will be appointed by the ALA-APA President. The chair may serve no more than two consecutive terms. To stagger the terms, the initial board will be chosen to serve 1, 2, or 3 years as shown in Tables A and B. To assure continuity, two to four new members will be selected either every year [see Table A below] or every other year [see Table B below] thereafter.

Table A

Yr 1

Yr 2

Yr 3

Yr 4

Yr5

Yr6

Yr7

Yr8

Yr9

YR10

2 @ 1y

2 @ 3



2 @ 3



2 @ 3



2 @ 2y


2 @ 3



2 @ 3



2 @ 3


1 @ 3y



1 @ 3



1 @ 3



1 @ 3

Table B

Yr 1

Yr 2

Yr 3

Yr 4

Yr5

Yr6

Yr7

Yr8

Yr9

YR10

3 @ 1y

3 @ 3y



3 @ 3y



3 @ 3y



2 @ 3y



2 @ 3y



2 @ 3y



2 @ 3y

Process for being selected to serve on the CRC. Members of the Certification Review Committee will be appointed by the ALA-APA President and confirmed by the ALA-APA Board based on recommendations from the appropriate division(s). The committee will be comprised of up to five members, with representation guaranteed for the division(s) proposing the certification program.

Frequency of meetings. The Certification Review Committee will meet at least twice annually.

Responsibilities of the Certification Review Committee. The CRC has the following responsibilities:

  • Review and approve the requirements for certification and re-certification.
  • Establish guidelines for education programs offered by providers.
  • Review and approve education providers based on the provider’s self-attestation that the provider’s program fulfills the guidelines. ALA-APA will develop, with advice from legal counsel, a disclaimer that says that ALA-APA does not “endorse” a specific provider.
  • Oversee the process for development and validation of the certification exam.
  • Refer appeals from applicants to ALA-APA Board.
  • Review periodically (at least every five years) the standards established for the certification program and request that the division(s) make changes as needed.
  • Work cooperatively with staff.

People will serve on the committee without remuneration.

ALA-APA Certification: Ongoing Administration

Ongoing administration will require one staff person at ½ time or until volume indicates otherwise. That person would be assisted by staff from various other ALA units for the ongoing support of the program. Many of the clerical functions of the program may be outsourced as needed. Some of the person’s responsibilities include (but may not be limited to):

  • Answering inquiries about eligibility, candidate status, and how to become an independent course provider.
  • Maintaining candidate and individual certification records.
  • Overseeing the establishment of exam sites.
  • Coordinating the dissemination and evaluation of exams.
  • Coordinating the review of assessment materials.
  • Maintaining ongoing communication with applicants, candidates, and certifications such as mailing certificates/pins, applications, reminders, etc.
  • Coordinating the distribution of marketing materials.

Measures of Success

The success of the credential will be based on:

  • The number of librarians actively pursuing the credential by engaging in education and training in the required and elective topics.
  • The perceptions of those with the credential that it:
  • Aided their career advancement.
  • Increased their ability to influence decisions related to the administration of their libraries.
  • The number of libraries with CPLAs on staff.
  • The number of providers offering training in the required and elective topics.
  • The number of providers seeking recognition by the CPLA for their courses.
  • The ability of the program to be self-funding.
  • The ability of other groups within ALA to model their credentials after the CPLA.
  • The ability of ALA to leverage its investment in the development of the CPLA.

Target audience

Librarians, both ALA and non-ALA members, with a master’s degree in library science who have administrative and supervisory responsibilities

Market size

There are approximately 9,000 public library managers. This is a conservative estimate based on the number of library directors, assistant directors, and branch heads with book budgets greater than $40,000 as determined by the Market Data Retrieval’s Library Mailing List (1996).

Marketing plan

It is especially important to market the certification during the first year. The marketing should be targeted to the memberships of PLA, ALA, regional Library Boards, and graduates of accredited library schools.

The marketing should be an ongoing effort that includes:

  • Press releases to all affiliated library, business, general and specialized (facility) management publications.
  • Web pages of PLA, ALA, and regional library boards.
  • Ads in affiliated library publications.
  • Direct mail to members and non-members.
  • Presentations at national and regional conferences.

Eligibility for CPLA Certification

To be certified, applicants must

  • Have a master’s degree in library or information science from an ALA accredited library school.
  • Have a minimum of three years experience in a position that includes supervisory and administrative duties.
  • Submit a description of their employment history.
  • Pay the required application and assessment fees.

To retain the credential, certificants must:

  • Complete a minimum number of hours of continuing education credits. The exact number is yet to be determined.
  • Continue in a library administrative role or position.
  • Pay an annual certification fee.

Applicants and certificants need not be members of the ALA or any of its affiliate associations.

Investment Cost

The estimated cost to develop the credential is $70,000 for the first year and includes:

  • Development of standards for each of the nine topics.
  • Development of a governance process.
  • Development of assessment tools and protocols for each of the five required topics and four elective topics.
  • Development of guidelines for recognizing third party training providers.
  • Development of promotional narrative suitable for publication.
  • Development of the application process.
  • Development of re-certification criteria and guidelines.

This investment includes:

  • Consultant’s costs.
  • Promotion costs.

This investment does not include costs associated with:

  • Committee members’ attendance at conferences or meetings related to the development of assessments, standards, or other deliverables required to launch the certification.
  • The development of the training for each of the nine topics as this investment would occur independent of the certification.
  • The purchase, programming, or administration of a data base system for candidates and certificants’ records.
  • The creation of a 501(c)(6) organization to manage this and other certification programs.

Suggested ALA-APA Fees

Recommended application fees:

  • $275 for PLA members.
  • $300 for ALA members.
  • $350 for non-ALA members.

PLA course registration fees will be set by the provider; however the following fees will serve as guidelines:

  • $200 per course for PLA members.
  • $250 for ALA members.
  • $300 for non-ALA member candidates.

Annual candidate fee:

  • $50 for PLA members.
  • $60 for ALA members.
  • $70 for non-ALA members.

ALA-APA re-certification fee:

  • $75 for PLA members.
  • $100 for ALA members.
  • $150 for non-ALA members.

The Certification Committee may wish to waiver the non-member fee for librarians who are members of ALA, or its other affiliate associations if those organizations promote and recognize the certification.

The Application Process

To apply for the certification,

1.Practitioners will download the application packet. They may also request a packet by mail. The packet will contain:

  • The requirements for certification.
  • An application.
  • A work history document, to be filled out, signed, and returned with the completed application.
  • A self-assessment, to be filled out, signed, and returned with the completed application.
  • Instructions on how to enroll in educational courses.
  • A copy of the competency standards.

2.The applicant submits a copy of the completed application, along with registration fees, to the ALA-APA Office of Certification. The Office creates a candidate file, reviews the materials, and maintains a file for each applicant, checking off the required application components.

  • Work history document showing three years of experience.
  • Completed application.
  • Self-assessment with a plan for development or contribution.
  • Fees paid.

3.Once a candidate feels prepared to take the examination, the candidate registers for the exam and pays the examination fee. The exam is administered in registered exam sites across the country under strict guidelines. If the candidate passes the exam (with a percentage to be determined by the CRC), the Office of Certification changes the candidate’s status to certificant, sends the formal certification, and provides other information deemed appropriate (model press release, protocols for announcing the designation and displaying it on business cards, printed materials, etc.).

4.If the candidate does not pass the exam, the candidate may re-take the exam in six months after paying an additional examination fee (half of the original charge). In the situation where the candidate is not granted the designation, the Office of Certification informs the candidate and explains the procedure for appeal.

5.In the case where the candidate chooses to exercise the appeal process, the candidate must put the appeal in writing within three months of the decision. The appeal, along with all documentation, is then forwarded to the ALA-APA Board, whose opinion is final. Whether or not there is a fee associated with the appeal is yet to be decided.