CPLA Designee Re-certification Process*

Submit your Re-certification Form.

Certification Renewal Requirements
Initial certificates are issued upon completion of the program and are valid for five years. They are valid through the last day of the month in which they expire. The certificates may be renewed upon evidence which satisfies the ALA-APA CPLA Certification Review Committee (CRC) that the holder has participated in continuing education in librarianship which either is directly related to the position held or will facilitate advancement in the profession.

The minimum requirements for certification renewal are based upon the accumulation of 60 contact hours of continuing education related to the CPLA standards and/or management in the five-year period prior to re-certification. Contact hours may be granted for continuing education activities outside the fields of information, library, and media education (for example, management courses at a business school) if they are relevant to the present position or to career advancement in the library profession.

Three alternatives are available for accumulating contact hours and credits. Individuals may take formal coursework through academic institutions of higher learning; participate in noncredit workshops, seminars, and conference sessions; or pursue self-directed activities which have clear objectives and documentation.  No more than 30 contact hours from self-directed activities will be credited for certification renewal.  We are encouraging Certified Public Library Administrators to truly seek out continuing education activities that enhance their knowledge and help them to advance in the profession.

In all cases, the continuing education must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Focus on clear learning objectives related to the CPLA standards and/or management;
  • Involve active engagement in the learning by participants;
  • Provide an opportunity for participants to apply the learning;
  • Include a process for evaluation to determine if the learning objectives were met.

For self directed activities, the re-certification plan must be approved in advance by the CPLA certification review committee in order to assure that it complies with current requirements.

To determine the number of contact hours for individual continuing education activities, consult the following continuing education chart.


Type of Activity Unit of Measure CE Contact Hours
Formal Coursework through Institution of Higher Learning
– Semester credit granted by institution 1 credit 15 contact hours
– Quarter credit granted by institution 1 credit 10 contact hours
Noncredit Workshops, Seminars
 Actual contact time of events* 60 minutes 1 contact hour
Self-Directed Activities, Conferences [30 Contact Hours maximum including preparation time may be credited in this category]
– Learning experiences that fulfill the eligibility requirements supplemented with appropriate documentation 60 minutes 1 contact hour
– State or national conferences 1 day 6 contact hours
** Attendance of the 2024 PLA National Conference (Columbus, OH) full conference 11 contact hours

*A contact hour is 60 minutes of continuous participation in a learning activity. A learning activity must be a minimum of one contact hour. For continuing programs, when individual segments are less than 60 minutes, the sum of the segments may be considered one total program (e.g., four 30- minute presentations would equal 120 minutes and be counted as two contact hours). After the initial minimum of one contact hour is met, credit is granted for contact hours for programs involving fractions of an hour by rounding up to the next quarter hour. For example, a program lasting 1 hour and 50 minutes should be rounded to 2 hours.


Examples of Eligible Self-Directed Learning Activities

  • Instruction and consultation (courses, workshops, seminars, presentations, poster sessions, conferences, programs) given or received to or from information, library, management groups.
  • Participation in professional library association activities or activities of the state library association by serving as chair or member of a major committee or as an officer in the association (e.g., serving on an ALA-APA committee or as officer of the state library association).
  • Presentation to library related groups as a member of a CPLA panel.
  • Exchange-of-position programs (learning in another library for a specified period).
  • Publications (a book or a chapter thereof, a paper, or an article) authored and published in the library/media-related field relating to one of the CPLA standards and read primarily by those in the profession.
  • Preparation time necessary to develop presentations.

Examples of Non-Eligible Self-Directed Learning Activities
Learning activities for which no academic credit is given, which are not planned, coordinated, administered, and evaluated in terms of learning objectives, and which are not designed to keep participants abreast of new knowledge and developments within the library field and area of certification, enhance their job competence, or lead to further specialization do not qualify as continuing education activities for purposes of recertification. Among the activities not likely to meet those criteria are the following:

  • Business, committee, planning, and advisory meetings at the local library, system, or state level.
  • Training on regular library operations or procedures.
  • Program planning meetings.
  • Regular staff meetings.
  • Orientation of new staff.
  • Preparation of internal manuals and guides or other internal documents.
  • Professional association activities which are routine in nature (e.g., serving on the state association elections committee).
  • Published reviews of books.
  • Reading professional journals.

If you have questions about ANY of these eligible or non-eligible activities, present them to the CPLA Certification Review Committee for prior approval and/or contact Kimberly Redd (

Certification Renewal Process
Individual certificate holders are responsible for keeping records of continuing education activities and when they have reached the required number of contact hours, submitting their Re-certification Form.

Applications and documentation for re-certification will be evaluated by the CPLA Certification Review Committee on a quarterly basis, in keeping with the schedule the CPLA CRC currently maintains. Applicants will be notified of the CRC’s decision or if their are any issues with their submission by the ALA-APA Office.

Appeals may be made to the Certification Program Committee (CPC) in writing with documentation no later than three months following the CRC decision. Decisions of the CPC may be appealed to the ALA-APA Board of Directors. Decisions of the Board are final.

*Adapted from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Certification Manual for Wisconsin Public Library Directors, Bulletin No. 05047. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 2004.

Updated August 2021