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School Libraries

It has been said that a school library helps each school meets its mission to teach each student to achieve academic success by teaching the students as well as teachers to access resources in a variety of formats and to understand how to critically evaluate the resources found.  The State Library of Pennsylvania works with librarians and teachers throughout the Commonwealth to encourage the development of the school library resources needed to complete this mission.

School Librarian Certification

Anyone who desires school library certification must affiliate with a college having state-approved certification in that area and pursue certification through that college's or university's program. Pennsylvania colleges and universities will prescribe courses for certification. The Pennsylvania Department of Education does not prescribe credit hours or courses.

Pennsylvania teaching certificates with endorsement in school librarianship may be issued to graduates of Pennsylvania colleges and universities who have:

  • Completed a school librarianship preparation program
  • Received a competency recommendation from the preparing institution
  • Completed the test requirements for professional certification in Pennsylvania
  • Passed the Praxis test (a set of rigorous and carefully validated assessments administered by the Educational Testing Service that provides accurate, reliable information for use by state education agencies in making licensing decisions) and
  • Met all other requirements provided by law (School Code 1209)

The following colleges and universities provide certification programs in school librarianship: 

Clarion University of PA/Main Campus, Clarion, PA 814 393-2271

Kutztown University of PA, Kutztown, PA 610-683-4300

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 412-624-5230    

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries suggests that you consult the officials responsible for teacher education at a college or university of your choice for advice. Application for school library certification must be made through the preparatory college or university.

Certification applicants requesting a Level I certificate must complete the appropriate Pennsylvania testing requirements. Applicants must take a specialty area test (Praxis II exam) for each area in which they seek certification. Please refer to the Praxis Registration Bulletin from the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey (609-771-7395) for the appropriate tests required by Pennsylvania.

Guideline for School Library Programs (PDF).  Please note that this document is currently under revision

Other questions on Teacher Certification in Pennsylvania? Visit PDE's teacher certification information page

Continuing Education for School Librarians

Continuing Professional Education is important in Pennsylvania. Act 48 of 1999 requires all Pennsylvania educators holding Pennsylvania public school certification including Instructional I and II, Educational Specialist I and II, Administrative, Supervisory, Letters of Eligibility and all vocational certificates to participate in ongoing professional education.  Please check out the information at PDE's page on Act 48.

The State Library continues to offer workshops and webinars which can benefit the school librarian.  Please check out the list of offerings in the Compendium and on WebJunction.

Standards and Model Curriculum

Research Studies

Measuring up to Standards: the Impact of School Library Programs & Information Literacy in PA Schools (PDF)

This study from 2000 was one of the first to demonstrate that Pennsylvania school library programs could make a difference supporting the efforts of schools to measure up to standards. Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) reading scores increase with increases in the following characteristics of school library programs: staffing, information technology, and integration of information literacy into the curriculum. In addition, as library staffing, information resources and information technology rise, so too does the involvement of school librarians in teaching students and teachers how to find and assess information. The relationship between staffing and test scores is not explained away by other school or community conditions.

Measuring up to Standards Findings: the Impact of School Library Programs & Information Literacy in PA Schools (PDF)

This study established that there is a link between the presence of adequate school library staffing and higher academic achievement (as indicated by PSSA reading scores).  School library staffing is correlated with such scores.  As library staffing rises, reading scores rise.

Pennsylvania State Board of Education updated these studies in 2011 and the Pennsylvania House Education Committee held a hearing on the report in 2012.  Results of the study and the Committee response can be found here. (

Supporting the Infrastructure Needs of 21st Century School Library Programs was an IMLS supported National Leadership Grant provided to the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) and the Health Science Library Consortium in 2012.