Begin Main Content Area

Guidelines for Continuing Education for Public Library Staff

  1. Purpose
  2. Quality public library service relies on an informed, skilled public library workforce. The purpose of requiring continuing education is to enhance staff performance for improved public library service in the Commonwealth. By issuing these Guidelines, the Office of Commonwealth Libraries seeks to clarify the continuing education requirements for public library directors and staff members.

  3. Authorization
  4. As required by the Public Library Code, the director of all local libraries that receive Quality Libraries Aid shall attend at least 8 hours of continuing education each year (Title 24 PA. C.S.A. § 9334 (c)(5)), and to receive Incentive for Excellence Aid, all staff working 20 hours must attend at least 6 hours of continuing education every two years (Title 24 PA. C.S.A. § 9335 (b)(4)).

  5. Program Description
    1. Qualifying Staff
      1. The library director shall attend eight hours of qualifying continuing education each year. All libraries who receive the Quality Library Aid portion of state aid shall meet this standard.
      2. Paid library staff who work at least 20 hours per week in direct support of library service shall attend six hours of qualifying continuing education every two years. This requirement is in place for libraries that receive Incentive for Excellence Aid.
      3. Janitorial staff may be excluded from this requirement at the discretion of the library.
      4. Excess hours of continuing education may not be carried over to a new reporting period.
      5. Individual learning plans for each staff member are encouraged.
    2. Qualifying Education
      1. General criteria
        1. The program has clear learning objectives.
        2. The program is presented in a formal environment and may be presented in a variety of formats, including live, synchronous online, or asynchronous online.
        3. The program is conducted by a qualified presenter or facilitator, with expertise in the subject area.
        4. Only hours spent engaged in active learning may be counted; travel time, breaks, and social activities may not be counted.
      2. Programs which do not count toward continuing education:
        1. Internal on-the-job training and staff orientation
        2. Meetings where no formal training occurs
        3. Vendor demonstrations of products or services
      3. General continuing education resources which need no pre-authorization:
        1. Courses and workshops from post-secondary institutions
        2. Workshops and programs provided, sponsored, or funded by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries
        3. Curated lists of workshops provided by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries
        4. Workshops provided by the District Library Center or Library System
    3. Approval Process
      1. District Consultants may approve other training opportunities based on the criteria above and with guidance from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries.
      2. The office of Commonwealth Libraries shall review and may approve workshops and programs presented by professional organizations.
    4. Support and Documentation
      1. The library is expected to fund any pre-approved related expenses.
      2. The pre-approved continuing education shall be during the employee’s paid work hours.
      3. Libraries shall maintain documentation for each staff member to ensure they are meeting the Continuing Education requirements.
      4. Documentation for the continuing education of the director is submitted as part of the Annual Report (Pennsylvania Public Library Data Collection) process.
  6. Expected Outcomes
    1. Improve Library Service
      1. All education will relate to and enhance the employee’s ability to provide outstanding public service.
      2. The training will improve patron satisfaction with library services.
    2. Develop Library Professionalism
      1. The content should introduce the director or library staff member to a variety of people and ideas, i.e., people and ideas outside of the employee’s library.
      2. Continuing Education enhances staff engagement and leads to employees who are more satisfied their position.
      3. Staff training will aid in effective succession planning.

Approved by vote of Governor’s Advisory Council on November 18, 2021