February 13, 2018

In 2017, the Wisconsin DPI approved new rules that allow candidates to obtain school library certification (the 1902 license) without a separate classroom teacher’s license and/or without a master’s degree. For the past year, SOIS and other Wisconsin universities approved to prepare candidates for this license have been working on the lengthy process of developing program plans that would allow for these alternatives.

At the same time that these new licensing pathways were permitted, the DPI also adopted new Content Guidelines (standards) for school librarians, quite different from previous standards, with over 80 specific indicators requiring performance assessments.  We attempted to match our curriculum to these indicators, but feedback we received from the DPI would require SOIS to offer significant additional content, coursework and/or assessments to meet all requirements.  An ALA-accredited MLIS program like ours will find it difficult to provide this level of specific k-12 training to the small subset of our students seeking school library certification, especially those following the new non-degree pathway.

Work to create the non-degree and non-teacher license options is ongoing (spring 2018).  So at present, UWM’s existing program plan described on these web pages is still in effect: you must have a classroom teacher’s license and earn a master’s degree (MLIS or related) in order to obtain the 1902 from UWM.  We are sorry for the delay in offering a program following the new licensure rules.  If you have immediate questions regarding how or where you might obtain Wisconsin school library licensure under the new rules and guidelines, you may wish to contact the Wisconsin DPI teacher licensing office by completing this online form:  https://dpi.wi.gov/support/contact-educator-licensing .  They would have the latest information regarding approved programs.

mlis_slmThe School of Information Studies offers students the opportunity to obtain certification from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as library media specialists or school librarians.

In the state of Wisconsin, this program requires that the student has, or is eligible for, a classroom teaching license in another field before they obtain the school library license. Because school library certification requires that candidates meet specific competencies, the program plan is individualized for each student, with courses selected based on past academic and professional work experience.

Things to Know:

  • In Wisconsin, and in nearly all states, the library media license is an add-on certification for those who already hold a teacher’s license.
  • The library media certification is only available to students who are pursuing the MLIS degree. Students who hold a masters degree in a related field may be eligible to obtain the 1902 as a non-degree candidate, although all certification requirements must be met.
  • A 200-hour practicum, divided between elementary and secondary school settings, is a requirement of the program.
  • All courses required for this certification are offered online and many are also offered onsite. As with the MLIS degree, it is possible to complete school library certification entirely online.
  • Final assessment of the candidate for certification is done by completion of an electronic portfolio.
  • Because School Library Media has been identified by the State of Wisconsin as a teacher shortage area, students may be eligible for  student loan cancellation, depending on the type of loan obtained.  Additionally, serving in a low-income school may make the student eligible for loan forgiveness for a wider range of loan types.   See the link below under Additional Resources to learn more about these student loan forgiveness and cancellation opportunities.

Additional Resources:

More information about application to the certification program may be obtained from the School Library Media Coordinator, Mary Wepking, wepking@uwm.edu


Administrative rules and content standards for this license are determined by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

All candidates for certification will follow an individualized plan based on past coursework and professional experience, using this Certification Program Plan

Requirements: 1902 License

Information Studies Courses:
  • 501 Foundations of Library and Information Science
  • 511 Organization of Information
  • 520 Managing Library Collection
  • 571 Information Access and Retrieval
  • 642 School Library Media Programs and Resources
  • 644 School Library Practicum
  • 645 Library Materials for Children
  • 646 Library Materials for Young Adults
  • 711 Cataloging & Classification
  • 745 Library Services for Children and Young Adults
  • 799 Research Methods in Information Studies
  • Choose 3+ credits in the following technology courses to meet standard:
    • 670 Production and Utilization of Instructional Technology
    • 685 Electronic Publishing and Web Design
    • 786 Multimedia
Curriculum & Instruction Courses:
  • 701 Curriculum Planning (or equivalent)
Portfolio approval:

All certification candidates will be required to submit an ePortfolio which demonstrates their proficiency in the Content Standards as established by the Wisconsin DPI. The ePortfolio may be completed in D2L (UWM’s Course Management System). General information and tutorials on how to create the portfolio may be found through the UWM School of Education website. ( https://uwm.courses.wisconsin.edu/d2l/eP/presentations/presentation_preview_popup.d2l?presId=158948 )

If you have already completed any of the above courses as an undergraduate or post-baccalaureate student, confer with your assigned faculty advisor about utilizing these courses to meet the Wisconsin certification requirement.


Useful Documents

• Practicum Overview (PDF) • Fieldwork Application
• Checklist (PDF) • Fieldwork Guidelines
• Evaluation Rubric (PDF) • Fieldwork Placement Student Evaluation
• Fieldwork Supervisor Evaluation

School Library Practicum – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the requirements for my practicum placements?
You need to work under the supervision of a School Library Media Specialist who has a 1902 license and three years of experience. Your 200 hours should be divided between two schools at two different levels (elementary, middle, high school). When at all feasible, we expect you to do your fieldwork in two different districts.
What coursework is needed prior to practicum?
You should have completed at least 510, 520, and 511 as a minimum. You should plan to take 642 before or concurrently with your practicum. The later in your program you do the practicum, the more meaningful it will be.
Can I spread out the hours through the semester?
Your experience will be the most valuable if you can do all of your work in a concentrated time. However, this is not always feasible since many of our students have work obligations. Dividing the placements between two semesters may be desirable. Please discuss your plan with the program advisor before making final arrangements.
How do I approach someone about practicum?
When possible and desired, the program advisor will make an initial contact on your behalf. If you are doing the contact yourself, call the library media specialist and ask for an appointment to discuss a possible placement. This gives you both a chance to determine whether you might be a good match. It is up to the librarian to clear a placement with his/her supervisor and to advise you whether a background check is required by the district.
What features should I look for in a practicum site?
You will want to work where there is a fully-functioning library and information literacy program including regular information skills instruction with students and staff, current technology, planning and collaboration with teachers and interaction with administrators and with parents.
Why don’t you assign practicum placements?
Students often have an idea of where they would like to work. Furthermore, we wish to avoid mismatches as much as possible. If you need help in finding a placement in the Milwaukee area, we will certainly assist you.
Will a SOIS representative come to visit me during my practicum?
Yes, we plan to visit once at each of your placements. For online students, we will visit one time if at all practical. At that time, we would like to see you working with students, have a three-way conference with you and your supervisor and then a brief time with the supervisor alone.
Is the visit the only contact I will have with you during practicum?
No, regular communication throughout the practicum is expected. A D2L site is provided and you will be expected to write and upload journal entries in which you reflect on your experience.
What should I expect to do during practicum?
Before you begin your practicum, you will do a self-assessment based on selected Wisconsin Standards and Benchmarks (644 Practicum Evaluation Rubric). File a copy of this report with the program advisor and use it as a guide as you plan your placement experience. You may also use the Student Fieldwork Checklist as a guide for experiences you want to include in your fieldwork. Avoid being told or shown in favor of rolling up your sleeves and doing it. Remember also that this is your chance to learn practical skills, like simple book repair.
Any other expectations?
Approach this experience with professional standards in mind at all times. This refers to everything from your appearance and comportment to punctuality. Absences should be avoided. If you cannot be present when you are expected, please let the cooperating librarian know in a timely manner.
How is my practicum assessed?
At the end of your placement, you will confer with your supervising library media specialist to prepare a new self-assessment based on the standards rubric. In addition, your supervisor will be asked to fill out an evaluation. You are asked to write a 3-5 page report covering both placements, describing your experience. Your journal will be useful as you prepare your summary report. Your report, your supervisor’s report, and my observations from my visits will be used to assess your practicum. These items will be placed in your portfolio, along with a video recording of a lesson if possible. Also, you should keep samples of any flyers, displays, or evidence of programs you completed during your placement.
For a concise overview of 644 Practicum, please see the Practicum Experience Overview Document


For the 1902 Wisconsin Library Media Specialist license:

When you have completed all of the courses and activities required for licensure, as outlined in your individual program plan, you should complete the School of Education’s data form.  That form will be submitted to UWM’s Certification Office. You also need to contact the School Library Media Coordinator wepking@uwm.edu  so that your individual certification program plan and ePortfolio may be examined. When your ePortfolio is approved and the completion of your individual program plan is verified, the SOIS School Library Media Coordinator will contact UWM’s Certification Officer by email, copying the applicant.  The Certification Officer will then approve your completion of the 1902 program in the DPI’s online system.  Your license application will not be processed by the DPI until they have received this institutional endorsement from UWM.

Please see this page for additional information on using the DPI’s Educator Licensing Online (ELO) system:http://tepdl.dpi.wi.gov/licensing/elo .

You may also find useful information on the School of Education’s ELO site: http://www.certification.soe.uwm.edu. The portion for post-baccs, Non-Degree, Graduate Level Candidates applies to SOIS 1902 applicants).

Please use the appropriate form and code to apply for your license.  Note that all school librarian licenses are granted for level “EC/A” (early childhood through adolescence, or k-12).  See the information below to be sure you use the correct form and code in your online application:

  • Students who do not hold a Professional-level teacher’s license will be requesting the Initial 1902 license.  These students should apply using the teacher first-time request for an Initial Educator form (T001-1020) with the subject area “1901-Library Media Specialist Non-renewable.
  • Students who hold a Professional-level teacher’s license are eligible for the Professional-level 1902 upon completion of their SOIS certification program.  They use the ELO form to apply for a Professional Educator (T001-1030) with the subject area “1902-Instructional Library Media Specialist.”
  • Students who need to renew a 1-year emergency permit should consult this page for guidance: http://dpi.wi.gov/tepdl/elo/substitute-emergency/emergencey-renewal-tips.  The first emergency 1902 license is granted at the request of the district.  Subsequent 1902 emergency licenses are granted when the district attests that the candidate has made adequate progress toward full certification during the previous academic year. (PI-34 defines adequate progress as a minimum of 6 credits earned toward the approved program plan.) Candidates may request an updated program plan from the School Library Coordinator to provide to their district administration as evidence of adequate progress.

For all applications to the DPI for a license, UWM must provide assurance that you have met the requirements for the license or for emergency renewal, so be sure to contact the School Library Coordinator (wepking@uwm.edu) when you are ready to apply.


For out-of-state school librarian licenses:

Out-of-State students should consult their own state’s educator licensing office to determine which forms are needed.  If the forms require UWM endorsement, please send your materials to:

Mary Wepking
UWM School of Information Studies
NWQ B 3489
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee WI 53201-0413

This website will be useful to all certification candidates, especially those outside of Wisconsin: http://www.ala.org/aasl/education/recruitment/licensing