ATLANTA – Rest assured that the state of Georgia is safeguarding its readers and researchers from the dangers of unlicensed public librarians.

Librarians in schools and colleges are exempt from the licensing requirement that dates back to 1937 – the era of gangsters when outlaw librarians were evidently more of a problem.

The six-member State Board for the Certification of Librarians is gearing up to review the two-year renewal of the state’s 978 licensed librarians to weed out those who have a felony conviction, arrest, guilty plea or drunk-driving citation – or who haven’t gotten the required 10 hours of continuing education in the last 24 months. Renewal requests must be submitted by month’s end.

“With the June 30 deadline right around the corner, I am encouraging all licensed librarians to renew their professional licenses as early as possible,” said Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who provides staff support for the board.

The board meets four times yearly to be prepared to review complaints, conduct investigations, hold hearings and mete our punishment like any of the state’s other professional-licensing boards. Only, no one can recall that ever happening.

“I am unable to find a case where sanctions were issued against an individual for unlicensed practice as a librarian,” said Kemp spokeswoman Candice Broce.

The board also formally approves the education standards for the three professional levels – bachelors’, masters’ and Ph.D. graduates. And it sets the fees of $80 to get licensed and $75 for renewal.

Mostly the license requirement ensures that the staff of public libraries stays up to date on trends, according to Julia Huprich, director of training and continuing education at the Georgia Public Library Service.

“Public librarians are charged with serving the ever-changing needs of the communities that they serve, and by requiring that educational credits are completed each year, the secretary of state’s office is supporting the continuing development of knowledge of librarians and excellence of service to the public,” she said.


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