ULA Paraprofessional Certificate Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I go to find classes to take?
Check out the link on our ULA webpage for State Library classes, as well as other on-line sources such as the ALA website. Utah Academic Libraries also offer some courses in Library Media subjects. OCLC sometimes offers classes, and your library’s integrated library system may have on-line training on their website as well. Your mentor may have some other suggestions. Of course, annual ULA Conferences are a great resource—and a great source for points!
Can I earn points just by attending a ULA Conference IN ADDITION TO the points earned by attending the presentations and workshops?
Yes! Attendance at a conference is worth 5 points per conference per year in the Professional Service Area. Membership is worth 3 points per year. Membership and Conference attendance is something we want to encourage. Networking and learning from each other is a great source of enrichment for each of us in our profession. You can also add up points to be added in to the Professional Development Area for each of the workshops you attend.
Here is how it might look if you attended 2 days of a ULA Conference, participating in eight 1-hour workshops/presentations:
How long does it typically take to earn a Certificate?
It can take as little as a year if you have already had years of experience and have been very active in ULA or other library professional organizations. Or, you can actually take up to ten years total to accumulate the necessary points—going back five years from when you register and moving forward for up to 5 years. The average is about 3 years.
Can points from one experience, event, or class be divided between different Areas of Library Service?
Yes, they can! Professional Experience is a good example of this. If you started working in a library, but did part-time work in two different areas, the points can be divided between the different areas. For example, you worked 2 hours a day at the circulation desk (Public Service points) and 2 hours a day cataloging items (Technical Services). If you worked only 4 hours a day for 6 months, then you would earn 20 points, 10 in each area. 80 points are awarded for each year of full time service. You worked only 6 months (40 points), and only half time (half of the 40 points). See chart below.
Let’s look at another example in Professional Development. You attended a 2-day workshop on Teen Activities sponsored by a ULA Roundtable. If there were 10 hours of non-credit library-related instruction given (and you attended them all), then you can earn up to 5 points per hour for a total of 50 points in Professional Development. But where do you put them? If you had a 2 hour workshop in creating web-based contests, those 10 points would be in Technology. What about training your staff and how to organize the summer of fun with them, scheduling, assignments, etc.? If another 2 hour workshop focused on those things, you may want to assign those 10 points to Administration and Management, as you are improving your skills in that area of Library Expertise. That takes care of 20 of your 50 points. The other 30 points might be put into Public Service, since that is where the majority of learning is applied. But, if you learned about cataloging new music records for your Youth Collections, then be sure to put points in Technical Services, as well! See the example chart below.
What is meant by “Explanation/Justification” at the bottom of Form B?
All points must be justified in your documentation through attachments on Form B, or in the “Explanation/Justification” box at the bottom of Form B. Tell us what you learned. You can include your notes or handouts from the class, or a written narration of what you learned and how it applies to your library service. Documentation of your hours worked can be provided through human resources, payroll verification, copies of signed contracts, etc.
Here are examples the points in the chart:
What if I cannot figure out what points to assign where?
Contact your mentor! If that doesn’t work, then contact the current chair of the Review Board. The Review Board contact information can be found on the ULA website under Organization>Committees>Paraprofessional Certificate Program>Review Board