ASSOCIATES (vol. 7 no. 3, March 2001) -

My View From The Backroom

The FANTASTIC Minnesota Library Certification Program


Carol Borzyskowski
Library Associate II
Winona Public Library
Winona, MN 55987

I admit to watching SURVIVOR II--just for the scenery of course--but I have to say the plotting, backbiting, and scheming gives me the willies: I might as well be at work <big grin>. If you can drag yourself away from watching SURVIVOR II or TEMPTATION ISLAND, and are interested in ways to get ahead without stepping on someone's back, Read on! (I feel better now, I have used up my one explanation point.) I plan to write about a great program that Minnesota has called Voluntary Library Certification.

Briefly, here is what Minnesota is doing: Just an idea for you non-Minnesotans, something to talk to your library association about, something to work on, something to get started to show just how good and important we support people are to libraries.

This is the mission statement from the Certification Home Page. Isn't this great? I wish I had written it, doesn't it say what we all think and feel?

The Minnesota Voluntary Certification Program for Library Employees is intended to improve library service in Minnesota; encourage library employees to develop skill through continuing education; improve the image of library employees and libraries; and provide guidelines for library administrations to use in policy development for hiring staff.

Just what is the program? It is a Voluntary Certification Program, intended to improve library service by encouraging library employees to acquire, maintain and develop their knowledge and skills. The basic program addresses 50 competencies and requires 60 contact hours. Competencies cover the areas of Philosophy, Public Service, Technical Services, and Technology. The Philosophy competencies are met by attending What is Library Service Day 1 and Day 2 workshops (10 contact hours) and completing assignments. The remaining 50 hours are self-selected for the competencies identified by your personal developmental needs.

The web site for more information is

Learning more about your job is a great way to survive, and not just a Minnesota Winter. In my own job, I was able to ask for a re-evaluation of my duties and skills and ask for an upgrade. The best part was, after consideration, it was decided I had met all the qualifications for a higher classification, and I got the upgrade and raise. But I couldn't have done it without attending classes offered through our library association and our library system.

Another fun thing happened this winter, I was contacted by the SELCO Public Relations Director and asked if I would write (or if I had) a cat poem to be used on all the book marks for the Adult Winter Reading Program, called Hot Reads for Cold Nights. Now, that was fun, and yes, I reworked a poem. So all the participating libraries got copies of my poem on their bookmarks.

I think that by focusing on the positives, like CERTIFICATION, and POETRY I am going to survive the winter after all.

Yes, here is the poem. And if you want to see a picture of the bookmark, click here.

Cats and Books

As soon as I settle
pillows fluffed
blankets arranged
book open to read
she arrives

one paw at a time
pressing my chest
massaging my shoulder
claws retracted
full throated purr

gentle pummel
kneading begins
head nudging my book
gold eyes closed in anticipation
she approves my selection.

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