Certification Exam FAQs
1. Where can I find information on the New Mexico State Library’s Certification Program?
Information is available through the following methods:
- New Mexico State Library’s website: http://www.nmstatelibrary.org
- US Mail:
New Mexico State Library
1209 Camino Carlos Rey
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87507
- Toll free phone number: 1-800-340-3890
2. Why is there a certification exam?
Certification is required for the chief librarian (library director) in communities with populations of 3,000 - 15,000 as shown by the last federal decennial census, to receive public funds under the New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) 4.5.2. If a director does not hold an MLS/MLIS, obtaining a Grade I or Grade II certificate is required.
A certification program for library directors is statutorily mandated in the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA), Chapter 18, Articles 2.8 through 2.18. New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA), Chapter 18 is available via: http://www.nmonesource.com/nmnxtadmin/NMPublic.aspx
3. Who is the certification exam for?
The certification exam is designed and intended to be administered to public library directors in communities with a population between 3,000 - 15,000 (as shown by the last federal decennial census) who do not have the minimum number of required college credit hours in library science courses or hold a MLS/MLIS.
Certification requirements under NMSA 18.2.15 do not apply to public school libraries or county law libraries. See also New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) 18.2.15.D
The certification exams are not intended to be a teaching tool or to take the place of training for library staff. The purpose of administering such exams is to certify that current public library directors serving a community of 3,000 - 15,000 who do not hold a MLS/MLIS have an understanding of how to manage a library.
- As of January 1, 2017 only current public library directors may apply to take the Grade I and Grade II exams.
4. What are Grade I and Grade II certification?
Grade I Certification is required for the chief librarian (director) of a community having a population of 3,000 - 10,000, as shown by the last federal decennial census. Certification without examination is issued upon completion of two (2) years of undergraduate work plus nine (9) hours of library science courses from an accredited college or university. See also New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) 18.2.11.
Grade II Certification is required for the chief librarian (director) of communities having populations of 10,000 – 15,000, as shown by the last federal decennial census. Certification without examination is issued with either graduation from an accredited college or university with a minor in library science OR twenty-one (21) semester hours of library science courses beyond the requirements of Grade I Certification (30 hours). See also New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) 18.2.12.
5. What is Temporary certification?
Temporary Certification may be issued for all grades and is issued for a one year period by the State Librarian in special cases upon written recommendation from a library board or the governing body of the community. Temporary Certification may be renewed or extended for a one-year period upon written recommendation from a library board or the governing body of the community. See also New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) 18.2.13.
6. What is Permanent Professional certification?
Permanent Professional certification is required for the chief librarian (director) in communities that have populations of more than 15,000, as shown by the last federal decennial census. An MLS or MLIS from a college or university accredited by the American Library Association is required. Taking the Grade I or Grade II exam is not required to obtain Permanent Professional certification.
NMSA 18-2-15 states: A Permanent Professional librarian's certificate is required for the chief librarian (director) of any library:
- Supported in whole or in part by public funds, and service a municipality or other political subdivision having a population in excess of 15,000 persons as shown by the last federal decennial census; or
- Of any state agency or state-supported institution.
See also New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) 18.2.10
7. How does a director prepare for the certification exam?
The Library Foundations Guide is available at no cost on the NMSL website. However, this guide is not intended to be the only material used to prepare for taking the certification exam. It is merely a starting point. Please seek other useful and quality materials to prepare yourself for running a public library and for taking the certification exam.
8. When are the certification exams offered?
Certification exams are offered through the New Mexico State Library and must be completed at the New Mexico State Library. Exams are scheduled on an individual basis with the Development Bureau during each application quarter. Provide the date you wish to take the exam on the application.
9. How much does certification cost?
- Grade I, with examination ($20.00) Only current public library directors may apply to take the exam
- Grade I, without examination (Please send official college transcripts) ($10.00)
- Grade II, with examination ($20.00) Only current public library directors may apply to take the exam
- Grade II, without examination (Please send official college transcripts) ($10.00)
- Permanent Professional (Please send official college transcripts, graduate degree only) ($10.00)
- Temporary (Please enclose written recommendation) ($20.00)
10. How does a director apply to take the certification exam?
Within the quarterly schedule, complete the application and mail with a check or money order (made out to the Department of Cultural Affairs) for applicable fee to:
New Mexico State Library
Library Development Bureau
1209 Camino Carlos Rey
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87507
11. What passing grade is required on the certification exams?
- A minimum grade of 70% is required for Grade I Certification.
- A minimum grade of 80% is required for Grade II Certification.
- Grade I and Grade II each have portfolio pieces that are required that must receive a score of 3 or higher.
12. Does certification need to be renewed?
Once certification for the appropriate level is attained, it does not need to be renewed. However, continuing to take classes and workshops to stay current with issues and trends in libraries is strongly encouraged.
13. What happens if a director doesn’t pass the certification exam?
Under one application and paid fee, an applicant may take the exam up to three (3) times in order to attain a passing grade. From the time the applicant is notified of a non-passing grade, the applicant will have thirty days to attempt a second time. If after the second attempt a non-passing grade is not achieved, the applicant will have thirty days to attempt a third and final time.
14. I am not a library director but would like to learn more about librarianship, any suggestions?
- The Dona Ana Community College offers online classes for an Associate of Applied Science and/or Certificates. Taking classes is the best way to learn more about librarianship and to prepare yourself for working in a public library, as it is a structured program, rather than a general one time exam.
- The Hitchhiker Professional Development calendar lists FREE webinars on specific topics that are beneficial.
- Webjunction is another great source for learning more about librarianship.
- The Online Learning Opportunities page offers links to multiple options for professional development opportunities, many of which are FREE!
- If you already hold a bachelor's degree in any field, there are many options for obtaining your MLS/MLIS online from ALA accredited institutions.
15. I am not a library director but I have taken library science courses. Can I submit an application with my official transcripts to receive a Grade I or Grade II librarianship certificate?
Yes. If you have taken library science courses and have received the required number of hours to qualify for a Grade I or Grade II certificate, we will review your official transcripts and prepare the appropriate certificate upon verification. Complete an application and mail it, along with the required fee. Please also submit official college transcripts, which can be sent directly to the development bureau from the school.