Certification & CE Handbook

View or download the handbook.

ASPeN Event Calendar

Find and register for CE events.

MSL Learn

Enroll in self-paced online courses.

MSL YouTube Channel

Watch recorded webinars.

Continuing Education Credits

Training presented in a structured learning situation is eligible for continuing education credits.  That structure might be an online course, a workshop at a conference, or a video recording from an online workshop.

There are a lot of possibilities but in general it is a good idea to choose trainings that you can answer “yes” to the following questions.

  • Is the training presented in a structured learning situation?
  • Is it library-specific and/or specific to your library’s needs?
  • Will it help you do your job better?
  • Does it fit into one of the four continuing education categories?
    • Library Administration
    • Library Services to the Public
    • Collection Management and Technical Services
    • Technology

If you can answer yes to most or all of these questions, then it is very likely something worthy of continuing education credits.  If you have questions about categories, what counts and what doesn’t, please visit with your library director. 

Continuing Education Credit for College Coursework

It is possible to earn CE credit for college coursework.

An unofficial transcript can be used to document course completion.

Library Science Courses

Library science college courses completed during a 4-year certification period can be used for CE credits. To be eligible for CE credits college coursework must, for the most part, be library specific.

Both undergraduate and graduate level library science courses can be converted into continuing education credits using the formula below:

Semester Credits

1 semester credit course = 4 continuing education credits

2 semester credit course = 8 continuing education credits

3 semester credit course = 12 continuing education credits


Quarter Credits

1 quarter credit course = 2 continuing education credits

2 quarter credit course = 4 continuing education credits

3 quarter credit course = 6 continuing education credits

Please contact the MSL Continuing Education Coordinator to enter these credits as independent learning events.

Non Library-Specific Courses

Review your plan to complete college coursework with your supervisor or director.

As your employer, they will determine whether CE credits for non library-specific college courses will be acceptable to verify for MSL Continuing Education credit and MSL Certification completion.


For questions about continuing education opportunities, please contact Colet Bartow, MSL Continuing Education Coordinator.

Sign up for MSL Newsletters to stay up-to-date on continuing education and other news.

ASPeN Event Calendar – find and register for Montana State Library and Montana Library Association events.

MSL Learn – Montana State Library’s online learning platform.

MSL YouTube Channel – find recorded sessions from CE events to watch at your convenience and then claim CE credits in ASPeN.

Continuing Education Newsletter

Email Updates
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Montana Library Association (MLA) – MLA sponsors workshops, conferences, and other continuing education opportunities.

WebJunctionWebJunction builds the knowledge, skills and confidence of library staff to power strong libraries that are the heart of vibrant communities. A program of OCLC Research, WebJunction is free and welcome to all libraries to use, regardless of size, type or location.

Other – trainings offered through your municipal or county government are a very good source for continuing education. Staff training days offered at your library are another way to claim independent learning credits.

Engaging in continuing education is a great way to grow your skills and knowledge.  You can apply continuing education credits to earn certification through MSL.

Visit the Certification Program page for details.


There are so many sources for continuing education. Where should you start?

A written plan can be helpful to identify relevant activities and stay focused on your professional goals, your libraries' needs, and keep track of your progress.

Here are two useful resources you can use to create your own written plan.

Blank CE Plan Document (Microsoft Word version will download)

Watch this short video to learn more! 

Montana State Library is charged with

  • Promoting the value of continuing education
  • Encouraging boards to support continuing education for library staff
  • Developing and providing quality training in all formats
  • Keeping Montana librarians informed of continuing education opportunities

New public library standards went into effect on July 1, 2022.

Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 10.102.1158 (4) The board receives at least three hours of continuing education each year.

This standard states the board (all members or a quorum) should participate in continuing education.  With busy schedules, many responsibilities, and limited time to get it all done, here are a couple of suggestions for fitting continuing education in for library boards.

  • Have a plan! At the beginning of the fiscal year create a continuing education plan. Include topics, who will do the training, how and when the training will occur.
  • Adopt the plan as an agenda item at a regular meeting of the Board.
  • Set aside 20 minutes at the beginning of each meeting. Keep it relevant to your current work and continuing education will be more meaningful.
  • If your board meets each month, the 20-minute sessions quickly add up to the 3-hour requirement.
  • Including continuing education sessions in your public meeting notice is an easy way to document achieving the standard.

Individual trustees can still participate in the voluntary MSL Certification program—and are encouraged to do so—but the new standard applies to boards rather than individual trustees.

Question: What is MSL’s definition of continuing education?

Answer: Library-specific training provided by library or library-related organizations that is presented in a structured learning situation is eligible for continuing education credits.

  • Is training presented in a structured learning situation?

  • Is it library-specific?

  • Does it help you do your job better?

  • Does it address one or more of the competencies you need to know to do your job? (Source: Current Certification Manual)

Question: If a board member or library director attends a training and comes back to present that training to the other board members, does that count as continuing education?

Answer: No. While it is valuable to talk about training experiences and that kind of sharing often deepens learning that occurred at a workshop, presentations about trainings don't typically count for continuing education credit. 

To count as continuing education, the presentation would need to be structured where other board members have direct access to workshop materials, practice what was learned, and are given opportunities to discuss content in a meaningful way that is relevant to the library and assists everyone in doing their job well.

Question: Our board is planning to do the following to meet the 3-hour continuing education requirement:

Watch two webinars  

  • Book Challenges and Intellectual Freedom (Webjunction 1 hour and 6 minutes)

  • Hooray for Freedom! Part One:  Privacy, Confidentiality, and Intellectual Freedom in the Library (56 minutes)

Review United for Libraries Toolkit: Challenges to Materials and Programs: The Role of Library Trustees & Board Members  

Review the Library's Collection Development Policy and Request for Reconsideration Process

If we include a 10 -15 minute conversation at the Board meeting about the materials, that would equal 3 hours of training. Do you think that this process meets the Library standard?

Answer: Yes, if the trustees follow up to discuss and share what they learned in a regular meeting.  Having the discussion as an agenda item provides documentation for meeting the standard. If this plan is adopted by the Board prior to implementing the plan, then it is clear to everyone how the board will meet the standard. 

Question: We understand there has to be a quorum for the credits to count towards the 3-hour requirement. Does this mean the trustees must attend the same sessions at the same time? Does attending the same conference but not the same sessions count?

Answer: Yes. If a Library has a quorum of their Board at a conference and they’ve noticed that fact, in that sense they are behaving as a quorum. Even if they do not attend the same sessions, conference attendance with a quorum of the board, would count.  Boards are encouraged to share and discuss what they learned during the conference sessions in a future board meeting.

Question: If a quorum of trustees complete the same webinar but not at the same time. Does that count?

Answer: Yes, as long as the trustees discuss and share what they learned in a regular meeting.  Having the discussion as an agenda item provides documentation for meeting the standard.