The reasons for developing a national certification:
- Standardize expectations for library support staff
- Master job competencies
- Provide educators with guidance in developing curriculums
- Help employers articulate job requirements.
As usual I have questions. Questions like:
Is my learning obsolete? Will I have to return to class if the certification ask for knowledge that was not part of my curriculum at the time I got my PCC library certification?
Will this certification program be used as a weeding out process for those current library support staff that can't pass the new certification?
Will the certification actually mean anything? For example, there is a basic level certification test known as the A+ for computer repair. In the past this certification was easy to obtain.
You could buy a book with a CD simulation of the test and cram for it without having to perform the actual skills. So you have a lot of folks that passed the A+ certification but couldn't really fix your computer. They had no real training. The test has since been redesigned.
Is this a way to control how much or how little information a library support person should have to perform their jobs? Maybe certain libraries don't want library support staff to have Ready-Reference skills. Or you want staff to have better customer service skills as opposed to knowing how to find information from LC or Dewey.
Is this a way to reduce the role of Librarians? Many cities and school districts are not hiring as many librarians as they should. If library paraprofessionals are acting in place of a librarian what does that person really need to know?
If you would like more information on the proposed national certification program please visit the ALA - Allied Professional Association at http://www.ala-apa.org/certification/supportstaff.html