Certification of Librarians
Librarian Certification Application Process
The certification process differs depending on which of the above groups you fall within:
- Submit the Application for Librarian's Certification , along with a $20 check to cover administrative costs to the address given below. All applications must include an official transcript verifying your degree. The transcript must be sent directly from the issuing school to the State Library. Official transcripts sent to us by the applicants are not considered valid.
- You can expect to receive your Librarian's Certificate or be contacted by us within 4 weeks from when we receive your application, or from your date of graduation, whichever is later. Recent graduates: timelines for verification are dictated largely by how long it takes for your University to release grades. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Applicants whose professional library degree was issued by an institution outside of the United States are advised to visit the American Library Association (ALA)'s Foreign Credentials Evaluation Assistance page.
If your degree is from a foreign institution listed on the ALA website as recognized by the American Library Association as equivalent to an ALA accredited masters’ degree, then follow the steps as outlined under Applicants with an ALA accredited library program degree.
If the institution which issued the professional degree is not listed on ALA's Foreign Credentials Evaluation assistance website, then the State Library requires applicants to have their degrees evaluated by an independent agency.
A list of several credential evaluator associations may be found on the Foreign Credentials Evaluation assistance website together with questions to ask when choosing a credential evaluation agency.
Once the evaluation has been completed, if the credentials meet the qualifications for a MLIS degree program, please have the institution submit their proof directly to the address below. Following accreditation, the applicant should submit the application for librarian’s certification together with a $20 check as described under Applicants with an ALA accredited library program degree.
Address for materials
All materials become the property of the Washington State Library and will not be returned. Please mail applications, fee, and any materials to:
Washington State Library
Attn: Librarian Certification Program
PO Box 42460
Olympia, WA 98504
Certified electronic copies of transcripts and accreditation materials may be received at email@example.com. Please note that applications should not be submitted via email but instead should be sent with payment to the address noted above.
The necessity for certification of librarians in Washington is established in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), Section 27.04.055 and further detailed in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), Chapter 300-12.
State law requires that “no library serving a community having over four thousand population, nor any library operated by the state or under its authority, may have in its employ, in the position of librarian or in any other full-time professional library position, a person who does not hold a librarian's certificate issued by the state librarian.” (RCW 27.04.055). This law does not apply to the State Law Library or to county law libraries. The State Library has the authority to grant librarian certificates to:
- Graduates of library schools programs accredited or otherwise officially recognized by the American Library Association for general library training. ALA has a list of accredited degree programs on their website.
- Candidates who present “domestic or foreign college or university transcripts from accredited institutions showing successful completion of a minimum of thirty-six quarter credits or twenty-four semester credits in the professional curriculum. This curriculum shall be in library/information sciences or a closely related program—including, but not limited to, coursework in such areas as reference and bibliography, cataloging and classification, and administration—equivalent to master's degree level work. Applications must include favorable references from employers or instructors—must be library related—indicating the applicant's ability to initiate and carry out effective programs of library service.” (WAC 300-12-015) State law indicates that applicants meeting these minimum requirements are to be given an examination—“a formal written one equivalent to that routinely administered to graduating candidates for a master's degree in library and information sciences.” (WAC 300-12-015) As most universities now require graduating master's candidates to submit a portfolio of their professional work in lieu of a formal examination, the State Library has adopted this practice as well.
For additional information regarding the certification process not found in our FAQ, or to check on the status of your application, please contact:
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