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​Public Library Certification

General Information

Visit the following links for more information about the process of Public Librarian Certification:

Public Librarian Certification FAQ

What certification level do I need?

  • Certification levels for public libraries are based on the population of the library's direct service area. See the chart below for the population levels.
CertificationLocal Library (Non–system Member): Direct Service Area PopulationMember of Library System: Direct Service Area Population
Library Assistant0 – 9,9990 – 14,999
Provisional Librarian10,000-19,99915,000-19.999
Professional Librarian20,000 and more20,000 and more

What are the criteria and standards associated with public librarian certification?

CertificationMinimum educational requirements

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

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

Professional Librarian

Bachelor's degree from a 4-year accredited college or university and a masters in library science from a school approved by the appropriate Commonwealth agency or accredited by the American Library Association. 

The following schools are approved:

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

Who do we contact about the certification process?

Who should apply for certification?

    • Individuals should apply when a certification level is achieved. If an individual has all of the required credentials to reach any certification level, they should apply for that certification whether or not it is needed for their job.

Do transcripts need to be sealed/unopened?

    • Transcripts must be sealed/unopened. Official E-Transcripts directly from the transcript provider will also be accepted. 

When should I apply for certification?

    • You can apply at any time.

How much does the certification process cost?

    • 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.

Does a school librarian certification qualify for a public librarian certification?

    • No, they are separate certifications.

Is the Northampton Community College library technical assistant program an approved/accredited institution?

    • Yes, it can be used to meet the supplemental library science credits for Library Assistant and Provisional certifications.

What do I do if I have a Public Librarian Certification (PPID) but it is not showing in the system?

    • Submit an application in TIMS for a New Credential and submit the following with the TIMS application coversheet once the application has been fully submitted in TIMS.  A PPID will be issued at this time or the current PPID of the candidate will be available to the applicant.
      • If the individual does have at least a photocopy of the certificate, but not the original, then the individual may simply submit a photocopy (not the original) of this Public Librarian certificate with the TIMS application coversheet.
      • If the individual does not have at least a photocopy of the original certificate, then the individual must:
        • Submit all original transcripts in college-sealed, unopened envelopes.
        • May submit and note the year and name under which the original certificate was issued.
          • If this information is NOT able to be verified, then a new certificate will be issued with the effective date of the new application submission.
          • If the information IS able to be verified, then a certificate will be issued to the individual and will be backdated to the date of the original certificate.