ALA Library Support Staff Interests Round Table Stand on Certification

At the LSSIRT Business/Membership meeting held Friday, Jan. 24, 2003, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center a stand on certification was taken:

LSSIRT voted to appoint a Task Force to study the issues and expectations of support staff concerning ALA accreditation/certification initiatives. The membership of the Task Force is composed of two LSSIRT Board members, two members from state support staff organizations, and one at-large LSSIRT member. The Task Force presented their final report at the LSSIRT Board/Membership meeting at the ALA annual conference in Orlando, Florida, in June of 2004. (

Its charge is to study the issue of national certification for support staff, prepare and administer a national poll for expectations, compile statistics from research and keep the LSSIRT Steering Committee informed of Task Force progress. The Task Force will communicate with LSSIRT ALA Liaison to keep LSSIRT abreast of what certification issues are being discussed within other areas of ALA.

A report was presented in Orlando, 2003, by Dorothy Morgan and approved by the LSSIRT’s Steering Committee. Along with writing LSSIRT Stand and including the Charge, the following was part of the report:

As a result of the recommendation to LSSIRT by COPE 3 that LSSIRT assume a leadership role in investigating the feasibility of certification, in cooperation with appropriate divisions, the Certification Task Force began to work on its Charge.

After months of communication with members of the Certification Task Force and the LSSIRT Steering Committee it was determined that certification, not accreditation, was the issue to be investigated. We made clear the definition and the difference between the two.

The next step was the development of a national survey that would go out to library support staff throughout the country.

The task force was given permission to use a certification survey as a starting tool that was developed by Margaret R. Barron for COLT. We asked that the Steering Committee review this survey and others and submit recommendations for changes in order to assure the LSSIRT survey’s distribution before ALA’s Midwinter conference in Boston in 2005. ( )

The Survey—2004

The Steering Committee reviewed and discussed COLT’s survey along with others via email. Dorothy continued discussions with Lorelle Swader, Director of ALA’s Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) and ALA/LSSIRT’s liaison, about certification and what kind of survey to use.

Lorelle emailed samples of surveys to the Steering Committee and a final recommendation was made as to the contents of the survey. It was also decided that the best way to handle the survey was to post it on a Web site so that answers could be submitted electronically. Lorelle felt that a Web-based survey might allow the Steering Committee to have the results back by the ALA Midwinter conference in Boston.

To summarize: ALA/LSSIRT is working cooperatively on an electronic survey that will be distributed shortly. This survey is an outcome of the 2003 3rd Congress on Professional Education: Focus on Support Staff (COPE3). From the results of this Certification Survey, LSSIRT will be able to determine the level of interest, and the perceived benefit, of a voluntary certification program. Participation will help the American Library Association and the ALA-Allied Professional Association make decisions on how to proceed.

Respectfully submitted,

Dorothy Morgan, Chair