Questions Answered on the Kansas Library Trustee Certification Program

by Shannon Roy, Continuing Education Coordinator

The Kansas Library Trustee Certification Program has received a lot of favorable review. Both librarians and trustees like the idea of an active program for trustee education. But it is obvious from the questions we have received that that this new program does need some clarification.

If you have questions in addition to the ones addressed here, please call Shannon Roy at 785/296-2148 or send e-mail to

Who is eligible for the Kansas Library Trustee Certification Program?
This program is intended for trustees serving on the board of a Kansas public library.

Why should trustees become certified?
The State Library, the Kansas Library Trustee Association Board and Kansas public library directors are all very interested in helping trustees gain the skills and knowledge that will help them be effective library board members. Trustees who take the time from their own careers and personal commitments to study Kansas library issues deserve to be recognized for their strong support of Kansas public libraries. The ultimate goal is for Kansas to have public libraries that give excellent service to their communities.

What is required for the initial trustee certification?
A trustee who wishes to qualify for trustee certification needs to take one hour of training in each of five trustee core skills that have been designated by the State Library and the Kansas Library Trustee Association Board. These five core skills are:

- Working with the library administration
- Skills for effective board organization
- Building support for the library budget, advocacy, marketing
- Creating effective library policies
- Creating and using a strategic plan

A library training program or workshop that covers any of these topics will qualify for trustee certification, whether it is specifically designated for trustees or not.

What kind of programs may be used to qualify for trustee certification?
A trustee may acquire their points for certification in any of the following ways:

- State Library programs for library trustees
- Workshops sponsored by regional systems, library organizations or individual libraries
- Training sessions at board meetings
- A statewide library conference or pre-conference program
- A national library conference or pre-conference
- Online training events
- Desktop courses that cover any of the core skills
- Credit will also be given for teaching a workshop or online event but that credit will be limited to presentation time.

How long does the certificate last?
The initial certificate is valid for three years from the date on the certificate. It may be renewed with the documentation of five additional hours of trustee training in any area or areas of the five core skills. The renewed certification will also be valid for three years.

Do trustees have to earn their certification within a certain time?
No. Trustees may apply for certified status whenever they qualify. However, to apply for a renewal of their certification, they must document five hours of training between the date on their certificate and the same date three years later. The training for renewal may be in any area or areas of the trustee core skills.

How are the records kept for the Kansas Library Trustee Certification Program?
The records are kept in a special program in the Library Employee Education Project (LEEP) database. The state library staff will take the responsibility for updating the trustee records and notifying the trustees when they have qualified for certification.

To add a qualifying event to a trustee record, the system coordinator, library director or trustee should send a Credit Request Form for Certification Training. This form may be found in Appendix A-2 of Reaching for Excellence: The Kansas Library Trustee Certification Program

This document may be found online at:

The Credit Request Form may be copied and used as often as needed.

Can I get copies of the publication for my trustees?
You certainly can. Send an e-mail to, tell us how many you need and add your mailing address.

When is the next Statewide Training for Trustee Certification?
The training has been divided into two parts, since it is difficult to cover all five core skills in a workshop with distributed video-conferencing sites. The training sessions have been scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2008 and Saturday, May 17, 2008, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The set of video-conferencing locations will be announced later.

Trustees will be able to sign up for either or both sessions. Trustees who complete both sessions will have completed all the requirements for their initial certification and the State Library staff will send their certificates.

What about trustees who are able to attend only one of the sessions?
They will receive credit for the core skills covered at their session. The training sessions will be repeated, at different locations, in October, 2008. Or they may pursue the remaining core skill credits in other ways. Any trustee may call the State Library staff to discuss their options for completing the certification requirements.

Will there be statewide training sessions every year?
Yes. While trustees are free to pursue their training in a variety of ways, the State Library staff members have a strong and long-term commitment to trustee development.

What if a special problem or concern comes up for a public library board?
Most library directors will confer with their regional system personnel to get the information their trustees need to resolve a problem. System personnel sometimes attend board meeting to discuss concerns or coming projects. Library directors sometimes call the State Library staff as well, especially when the question concerns a legal requirement.

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