COLT: Council on  Library/Media Technicians

Council On Library/Media Technicians


A POSITION PAPER ON SKILL CERTIFICATION FOR LIBRARY/MEDIA SUPPORT STAFF
From the Council on Library/Media Technicians

The following is the Council on Library/Media Technicians'position paper on certification for Library/Media Support Staff Personnel as approved by the COLT Executive Board at the June 1997 Executive Board Meeting in San Francisco California. Any comments may be sent to: COLT President Margaret Barron


The Council on Library/Media Technicians hereafter referred to as COLT, initially considered a national skill certification program in the mid-1980's. At this time there was a strong resistance to the idea by librarians and library administrators who felt that the outcome would produce "miniature librarians" without a Masters in Library Science who would delude the public into thinking that they were professional librarians and who would also offer less than quality service. In fact they would probably taint the image of the library and standards would be lowered. COLT suspended its certification activities as it felt that a completely different approach at another period of time was needed.

Now in the mid-90's COLT has reopened its investigative activities to focus upon the relevancy of a national skill certification program for library/media support staff. Surveys have been distributed nationally to support staff and at various conferences as well as by e-mail. The responses have been strongly supportive and questioning.

Specifying skill standards in different occupations is not new. In the library profession there has been a correlation between library proficiencies and a MLS or MSLS. You are either a librarian (graduate of an accreditated library school) or a clerk. The closing of library schools has resulted in a reduction of graduate librarians throughout the country. Library/Media support staff have been affected and impacted upon by the reclassification of jobs that were formerly held by librarians. Generally in-house training is provided to assist them in adjusting quickly to a wider variety of skill demands and work situations. Point in case is the Technical Services or Technical Processes Department in which the duties of the Copy Cataloger have shifted from the graduate librarian to the paraprofessional who now performs this cataloging with or without the means of electronic aids.

COLT recognizes that each major library system has their special position standards; that what is needed is uniformity of the standards on a local, state and national level and that they be consistent with one another. Despite the many controversies that this issue will again generate and the probable defensive attitude of many librarians who are also collectively engaged in the ongoing efforts to elevate the librarian to a professional status and to improve the image of librarians and libraries, we look forward to their support in these efforts.

COLT is the oldest non-union organization for library/media support staff and is committed to the development of a viable national standards examination which will be administered by COLT. Interaction with other library and support staff organizations will occur. A key benefit of this examination will be that the individual will have nationally portable credentials that will reflect their competencies and that will qualify them for many selective positions. The demand for high-skilled library workers is increasing and we have pledged our organization to advancing the concept of a national skill/standards certification program for library/media technicians and other support staff.

For more information or to volunteer contact:
Margaret Barron, President
PMB 168
62 Chardon Road
Willoughby Hills, OH. 44092
E-mail: barron44101@yahoo.com


Resources

Certification Survey

U.S. Library Technician Programs List

Library Technical Assistant Education Discussion Group

Criteria for Programs to Prepare Library Technical Assistants


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