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State Aid Resources for Pennsylvania Public Libraries

Librarian Certification


The purpose of certification by the State Librarian is to implement the responsibility to counsel local libraries on minimum standards, as required in the Statute, 24 PA.C.S. Chapter 93. Certification is also designed to facilitate recognition of qualified persons by the local library boards of the Commonwealth when employing staff, extending services to larger service areas, and entering into cooperative service arrangements. Libraries, library systems, and district library centers that receive state aid must have staff certified at levels specified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Please view the Statute and Regulation Standards Tab for Certification Standards. 


Procedure for Certification

To obtain certification, library directors and staff must submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS)

Certification is a free service offered by the Department of Education. Please be aware that there may be costs involved with acquiring your transcripts, etc.

You can find a general FAQ section on the TIMS website about the process as well as a page specifically designed for Public Librarian Certification with frequently asked questions, certification links, and points of contact. 


Public Library Director Certification Extension Requests

If a librarian is not compliant with certification standards, the library board should fill out a certification extension request. For best results, download the certification extension form to fill out electronically to submit. 

In order to maintain eligibility for state aid, a library which does not employ an appropriately certified library director must develop an educational plan and timeline for the director to obtain the Public Library Director Certification. Extensions of time to complete the certification requirements will be considered by the State Library on a case-by-case basis.

From the Statute (Title 24 PA C.S. Education):

§ 9319. Certification of library personnel.

(a) Categories of personnel.--The State Librarian shall certify library personnel according to the following categories and with the following qualifications:

(1) Library assistants shall have two years of college education in addition to in-service library training.
(2) Provisional librarians shall have a college degree and introductory education in library service.
(3) Professional librarians shall have a college degree in addition to one or more academic years of professional library education.

(b) Equivalent experience.--The State Librarian may promulgate rules and regulations providing for the certification of persons in the categories set forth in subsection (a) based on actual library experience as equivalent to the minimum educational requirements under subsection (a).*

(c) Continuing education.--The State Librarian may promulgate rules and regulations relating to continuing education requirements for library assistants, provisional librarians and professional librarians.

(d) Excepted personnel.--This section does not apply to clerks, typists, volunteer workers or other personnel who do not need special library training.

* There are no current directives outlined for equivalent experience at this time and therefore is not being offered.  

From the Regulations (Title 22):

The following citations come from Chapter 133 Certification of Library Personnel. You can view the entire chapter for more details.

Certification Minimum educational requirements

§ 133.6. Library assistant

2 academic years of college education** including 9 credits in library science from an accredited institution


2 academic years of college education with no credits in library science and 9 college credits in library science from an accredited institution

§ 133.5. Provisional librarian

Bachelor's degree including 12 credits in library science from a 4-year accredited college or university


Bachelor's degree with no credits in library science from a 4- year accredited college or university and 12 college credits in library science

§ 133.4. Professional librarian

Bachelor's degree from a 4-year accredited college or university and a Master's in Library Science from a school accredited by the American Library Association.


Bachelor's degree from a 4-year accredited college or university and a Master's in Library Science from a Pennsylvania school that has been approved by the appropriate Commonwealth agency.

Currently the following Pennsylvania schools have been approved by the Commonwealth for the Master's in Library Science:

  • Penn West Clarion (Clarion University of Pa)
  • Drexel University
  • Kutztown University of Pa
  • University of Pittsburgh

**2 academic years of college education is defined as 48 credits by TIMS


§ 141.21 (2)(iv)(C) and § 141.24 (f)(2)

Certification Local Library (Non–system Member): Direct Service Area Population (§ 141.21 (2)(iv)(C)) Member of Library System: Direct Service Area Population (§ 141.24 (f)(2))***
Library Assistant 0 – 9,999 0 – 14,999
Provisional Librarian 10,000-19,999 15,000-19.999
Professional Librarian 20,000 and more 20,000 and more

***22 PA Code § 141.24 (f)(2) States that for "Population up to 5,000. System certified personnel with at least in-service training provided by the system." however, the Statute supersedes this regulation as it does not allow for System certified personnel as one of the defined categories of personnel as outlined in § 9319.


System Administrators - 22 PA Code § 141.24 (f)(2)

The system shall be administered by a certified professional librarian with at least two years public library experience including some supervisory experience or its equivalent; provided, however, that no system shall be deprived of State aid because of having a noncertified administrator appointed prior to the effective date of this section (May 23, 1981). 

District Library Centers - 22 PA Code § 141.22 (e)(2)

The library shall fulfill local library or system standards on the number of staff and provide full-time professional positions as set forth in this subsection, provided that the qualifications do not apply to employes appointed to the positions prior to December 13, 1977, the date of final adoption of this subsection:

(i) Library administrator. The library administrator shall be a librarian with a professional certificate with at least 5 years of public library experience, including a minimum of 2 years supervisory experience or its equivalent.
(ii) Consultant staff. Each consultant shall be a librarian with a professional certificate and have a minimum of 2 years public library experience or its equivalent. The library shall provide consultant services to local libraries, municipal officers, and interested groups in the district. The district library center shall employ not less than one full-time consultant librarian and such additional consultant staff that is necessary to carry out the library’s plan for district library service. If fewer than five local libraries are in the district, the consultant librarian may be assigned not more than half-time to other professional duties related to district library center activities.

Please visit the TIMS webpage for FAQs regarding the Public Librarian Certification process

Contact if you have questions about the application procedure or the TIMS website in general.

Contact for questions about standards and regulations.