ALA Support Staff Survey on Voluntary Certification

An Online Survey on Certification of Library Support Staff is available until December 17, 2004.

The survey is an outcome of the 3rd Congress on Professional Education: Focus on Support Staff (COPE3), which was held in May of 2003. The
COPE3 Implementation Recommendations asked that the American Library Association (ALA) Library Support Staff Interests Round Table (LSSIRT)
study the issue of national certification for support staff. In response, LSSIRT created a Certification Task Force with a charge 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."

From the results of this Certification Survey, LSSIRT would like to determine the level of interest, and the perceived benefit, of a voluntary certification program. Your participation will help the American Library Association make a decision on how to proceed. The survey is brief and should not take more than five minutes to complete.
This is designed to be filled out BY SUPPORT STAFF as to whether or not
they want a national certification.
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commentary: Rochelle would like to ask all you support staffers out there to please consider filling out the survey, even (or particularly) if you are not involved with ALA. ALA has not been particularly accessible to support staffers, and it's important for ALA to get input from the many of you out there in the trenches.

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Certification

There are no national standards for library directors and deans of library schools; no national standards for librarians. Why for support staff?

Cities' public libraries' users, staff, unions.

Customer service quality needs to be made a part of certifying, credentialing. Better receptivity needs to be developed that would encourage complaints, concerns and suggestions. Our North American cities' public libraries tend to deflect any perceived critique. The matter affects staff who also are deflected at different levels of management. And the matter of customer service affects our cities' public libraries' labor unions' advocates deflected routinely.

Collaborative weBLog
Guide to Problematical Cambridge Public Library Use
http://GuideToProblematicalLibraryUse.buzzword.com

Re:Certification

Well, ALA-APA is looking at it from the top with it's proposed Administrator certification, and from the bottom with this proposal. Do you not think there should be certification, or do you think it should start elsewhere? I'm not sure how I feel about it, for any level of library worker. School librarians are certified and are paid better (compared to public librarians, at least). School librarians also tend to belong to one of the much stronger teacher organizations or unions, rather than the ALA.

Re:Certification

Schools also have bigger budgets in general.

Certification is a crock and moneygrab.
Directors need Master's degrees.
Librarians need 2-4 year degrees and the oversight of the position above.
Support Staff need a high school diploma and the oversight of the two positions above.

*That* should be considered the national standard.

Re:Certification

While I'm not sure I agree with you in general, it did occur to me that when school budgets get tanked, it's usually those certified, MLSed school librarians, along with those other useless layabouts, teachers of music and art, that get cut first.

Re:Certification

True, there is less job security, particularly in the grade schools I think. No amount of education is going to change the pecking order.

Re:Certification

This discussion is why I posted the link--I think that there is probably very strong opinion about this issue that ALA needs to hear. Please pass the survey along to support staff that you know.

not all support staff are the same

"Support Staff need a high school diploma and the oversight of the two positions above."

I might be a little sensitive or something, but that's really a slap in the face for those of us "support staff" who actually DO have formal, library school training. We are WAY more diverse than that. I sure as hell don't want that to be the "national standard" for ALL support staff. It can be the standard for clerks, but certainly not for LTs.

I took (and paid for) a two year Library Tech diploma and had the institution been giving out honours that year, I would've done so with honours. It wasn't an easy course--we started out with 20 people and 9 graduated. I have training in all areas of library services. I run a school library and do everything but teach the kids (I'm not allowed because of provincial regs--one has to be a teacher to teach. I do instruct, though). In fact, in my schoolboard, library support staff with _just_ HS are the lowest of the three levels within our contract. I do not work under the supervision of an MLS--our schoolbaord doesn't have MLS'. (Let me say that I think a MLS library-coordinator at the board level would be helpful.)

I don't think certification will solve anything, in fact, I think it will put more roadblocks up than anything.

Support staff cannot be lumped together, as much as you might like us to be.

s/

Re:Certification

I'm going to pass the survey along.

For the record I believe its important to hear all sides and to certainly get feedback from staff. I also believe that in the end its the Directors who make the decisions and who, in this case, should be deciding what they expect from their support staff.

Re:not all support staff are the same

If you'll notice in my description I said 2-4 years of college for Librarians. Congratulations, you've just been promoted.

(I thought I replied to this once, if a goofup is in progress, my bad.)

Re:Certification

You are spot on.

If they really wanted to improve the library profession, support staff, and the image of librarians ALA would research and potentially require certification/national standards for LIBRARY DIRECTORS and MANAGERS.

Um, that could maybe solve some of the issues support staff encounter.

Re:not all support staff are the same

Can you let my employer know? Maybe then I could get a pay raise to go with that promotion... ;)
s/

Re:Certification

ALA-APA is looking at this already. Just don't ask gregs about it. ;-)

Re:Certification

That's good to know!

Re:not all support staff are the same

Your boss would figure that the prestige and grandeur of the new title would be greater compensation than a pay increase would ever be.

Titles and certificates - me, I'd rather have money!

Beatrice

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