Certified Public Library Administrator Program celebrates graduates’ success

For Immediate Release
Mon, 11/29/2010 – 09:57

CHICAGO – The Certified Public Library Administrator Program congratulates those who have completed the program. 

The success of the 36 librarians who have completed the required seven managerial courses give credence to the competencies public library managers need to be effective. 

CPLA attracts librarians for many reasons, from those who want to be better at their current positions to those who want a professional development challenge, as well as those who are preparing themselves for eventual vertical moves. The courses, offered by the Public Library Association, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of North Texas LE@D Program, can also be taken by anyone who needs them, even if they are not a CPLA candidate.

Many graduates who have remained in their positions cite the value of the program in broadening their perspective. 

Here are stories from just a few who say CPLA changed their professional lives in some way.

“Current Issues” was helpful for Denise Stefanick, of White Lake, Mich., who graduated in less than two years. She remembers, “In my final CPLA course, ‘Current Issues,’ I found it especially interesting to exchange information about trends in library service with librarians from all over the US, Canada and even Alexandria, Egypt.  Our gracious classmate from Egypt even offered a standing invitation for classmates to tour the phenomenal Bibliotheca Alexandrina should we ever be in the neighborhood.”

Cathy Hakala-Ausperk, deputy director of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights (Ohio) Public Library, finished the program in Fall 2009 and just published a book called “Be a Great Boss.” She has been in libraries for 26 years and spoke in a recent interview about how her coursework helped her navigate budget cuts and write grants. She learned “a method of putting our budget together that, in the seven years that I’ve worked here, we’ve never used. Everyone was pleased with the results at a time when we have to share really tight budgets. I wouldn’t have known about it had I not taken the class.”

Lesa Balch, the first Canadian graduate, finished in 2009. CPLA courses helped to develop her knowledge and skills for use as senior manager at Kitchener Public Library in Ontario. She also benefited from “the Current Issues’ course, which coincided with researching trends for an Environmental Scan document for our library’s Strategic Plan.”

Pat Greedan finished the program alongside her director in spring of this year. Pat is a youth services librarian for Grayslake Area Public Library in Illinois. She says, “For those of us who have been librarians for a while, the CPLA program provides an opportunity to reinvigorate professional awareness, to renew our understanding of library trends and to truly be a lifelong learner. For me, the CPLA program reduced the number of years since library school and gave me a renewed vision and understanding of the library world today.”

Of the graduates who have changed positions, Bryan Fearn, 2008 graduate, received a promotion at one Nevada system and then moved to Multnomah County to become a neighborhood library administrator. Bryan praised the marketing and fund-raising classes for helping him “coordinate two successful fund-raisers bringing in over $18,000 for programming and collection materials.”

Bonnie Tollefson, former director of the Levy County (Fla.) Public Library System, finished the program in one year. Candidates have five years to complete it. She has since retired but remains an advocate for the program. She appreciated her budget class. “I learned how to justify expenses and ask for an increase in a decrease climate. I did get a 4 per cent increase when other departments took a 5 per cent cut. – success.”  

The CPLA program also salutes the 126 librarians who are currently participating in the program. Candidates and graduates are currently from 39 states (none yet from Alabama, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming) and three countries.

Janet Loveless, assistant library director for the Nassau County (Fla.) Public Library System, is a current candidate who was just elected to serve on the Northeast Florida Library Information Network (NEFLIN) Board of Directors. NEFLIN is a nonprofit, multi type library cooperative.

Todd Dunkelberg, another candidate, was promoted and is now director of the Deschutes Public Library System, in Oregon.

Librarians who are interested in applying must have an ALA-accredited MLS and at least three years of supervisory experience in a public library. The CPLA website has the application, a list of graduates and information about the courses. Applications are reviewed quarterly and the next deadline is March 4, 2011.