Graduate Program

Information Media: Library Media (Track II) FAQs

Click on a question below to jump down to the answer.

How do I obtain a license as a school library media specialist?

In Minnesota the license is called "Library Media Specialist" (LMS) and you need to have an authorized institution certify that you meet the competencies established by the state. At St. Cloud State University, the Information Media Department (IM), a unit in the School of Education, is authorized to certify individuals for licensure as Library Media Specialists.

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What are the employment prospects for a school library media specialist?

The State [] annually surveys school administrators regarding teacher supply and demand in Minnesota. The report is available online (Adobe Acrobat Reader required for viewing):

For a quick glance at some current education related openings, including those for school library media specialists, follow this link to SCSU's Career Services web site:

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What's this test that's required for licensure?

The state requires prospective licensees to pass a test of their specialty's skills before granting the license. Therefore, all students applying for the Library Media Specialist (LMS) licensure will have to take the Minnesota Teacher Licensing Exam (MTLE) - Library Media Specialist exam. If the LMS licensure is your initial teaching license, you must also take Minnesota Teacher Licensing Exam (MTLE) - Basic Skills.

  • The SCSU MTLE Center (formerly the Praxis Center) is located in room B-113C of the Education Building. Services offered include test overviews, study resources, handouts, workshops, strategies and tips, and basic tutorial sessions. For information, call (320) 308-3645 or e-mail
  • The Library Media Specialist examination consists of 2 subtests. You may take one or both subtests at one appointment, but you must register for both subtests in order to take two at one appointment.
  • Each subtest contains 50 multiple-choice questions; 1 hour is allowed per subtest.
  • Cost is $35 per subtest. There also is a $50 annual (September 1 through August 31) registration fee for MTLE no matter how many tests you take.
  • Register online at After you register and pay fees for chosen tests, you are able to choose a test date, time, and location.

MTLE Computer-Based Testing Windows

Effective September 4, 2012, computer-based tests are available by appointment, year-round, Monday through Saturday (excluding holidays), at test centers across the state and nationwide. Computer-based test takers for all subtests, except Basic Skills Writing, will receive a preliminary result at the end of their test session. This change is being phased in from September 4 - December 31, 2012. Official score reports will be received approximately 3-4 weeks later.

World Language and Culture tests are not computer based. These paper/pencil tests are offered at least three times per year at two test sessions.

For full details and testing schedules, visit

** Be sure to specify SCSU as a score recipient when you complete the test information!**

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What other licensure(s) do I need to have to be a school Library Media Specialist?

The current rule can be found at: To be licensed, the candidate needs to demonstrate Standards for Effective Practice for licensing of beginning teachers (known as the SEP). This wording refers to the basic pedagogical knowledge held in common by all teachers that is foundational to ALL teaching specialties. Of course, teachers presently holding a valid Minnesota teaching license meet the rule's requirements by virtue of the training they received to obtain their initial license. This part remains essentially the same as before. (If you have NOT completed a teacher training program leading to licensure, see next question.)

For school library media specialists, then, the other requirement is to " verification of completing a Board of Teaching preparation program...leading to the licensure of library media specialists..." It is this wording that makes it possible for a teacher to have LMS as their initial and/or only teaching licensure.

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What if I don't have a teaching license?

As explained above you DO need to be "licensable" as a teacher to qualify for a school library media specialist license.

If you want to pursue library media specialist for your initial teaching licensure at SCSU we will first refer you to our Teacher Development department to formulate an individualized program for meeting the State's "standards of effective practice" mentioned above. For students already having an undergraduate degree the majority of the needed courses do have graduate level equivalents (some daytime and some evening). At that point we would set up a licensure "contract" (see below) that would include the needed ED and related course work for the SEP plus the IM course work specific to the SLMS licensure.

The recommendation of the department would be to pursue full licensure with a teacher training institution as a teacher of something related to your undergraduate major -- taking only that course work that applies directly to being licensed in that area. Then (concurrently if feasible) pursue whatever other course work we'd require for full licensure as a school library media specialist. You'd then have two licenses-- an important bulwark against future cutbacks that could conceivably affect you negatively should you have only the one license.

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What are the steps involved in pursuing licensure thru the Information Media department?

If you have a valid Minnesota teaching license, and\or prior course work that could apply, set up a "contract" with the licensure adviser that specifies the courses you will need to complete in order for SCSU's Information Media Department to certify you as a Library Media Specialist.

If you are not pursuing a master’s degree with us (see below), the contract becomes your plan for accomplishing licensure. There is no formal admission process so you can begin taking classes as soon as registration opens for the next semester.

Here is a link to the licensure program plan options for those already in possession of a teaching license. For those NOT in possession of a teaching license, here is a link to a basic licensure/degree program planning grid.

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What classes do I need? How long will it take to obtain licensure? How do I register? How much will it cost?

For someone with no previous preparation (courses and other relevant experiences other than those required for initial teacher licensure) and seeking certification through us, the complete sequence would be 31 semester credits in 12 courses. These courses' objectives and content are "mapped" onto the competencies spelled out in licensure rule.

Library Media Specialist licensure does not require a master’s degree, though many seek out the degree given the number of courses involved, and we encourage that course of action since it's "only" 6-9 credits more of course work.

If you took 3 to 4 courses per semester (9-12 crs.), you could finish in less than two years through regular semesters and summers. Course schedules for upcoming semesters can be found at 2013-2017 Course Offerings.

This is the complete sequence for licensure --remember you may not need to take all of them:

  • (Prereq) General computer competencies with application software and Internet skills with Mac or Windows OS.
    Suggested course work: IM 245 or IM 554, or other skills-focused course covering computer applications
  • IM 502 Information Media: Theory, Research, and Practice 2 cr.
  • IM 620 The School Library Media Program 2 cr.
  • IM 504 Instructional Design I 3 cr.
  • IM 552 Access to Information 3 cr.
  • IM 555 Design and Prep of Multimedia Presentations I, OR
    IM 562 Design and Production of Video Media 3 cr.
  • IM 612 Technologies in the Workplace 3 cr.
  • IM 622 Media Selection and Evaluation for Children and Young Adults 2 cr.
  • IM 623 Reading, Listening and Viewing Guidance 2 cr.
  • IM 624 Organization of Information Resources 3 cr.
  • IM 628 Administration of Media 3 cr.
  • ED 451/551 Reading Competencies 2 cr.
  • IM 682 School Library Media Specialist Practicum (200 hrs) 1-3 cr.

Here are links to licensure course descriptions, possible course work sequences, and a degree program planning grid describing the possible routes to licensure for those also seeking a degree (links open in a new browser window or tab).

For registration information: Go to

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As a licensure student, I am a "non-degree" student (so I don't register until last!)?

Initially (unless you are an SCSU graduate) you are classified as a "special student" who doesn't get much in the way of "special" treatment. Sorry. Usually summer session classes and graduate only (600 level) are not as heavily attended so space isn't often a great consideration for them.

Go Huskies! Students who have received a degree from SCSU are entitled to priority registration status and therefore can register during the priority registration period as specified in the "When to register" registration information section. Also, when admitted to a graduate degree or certificate program you receive priority registration.

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Can I transfer credits to SCSU from another institution?

On a limited basis, credits from other institutions can be transferred. You must work closely with the Licensure Advisor to determine which course can be transferred. When you complete the licensure application packet (see below) you will need to have all institutions at which you completed licensure course work send us official transcripts. When we review your contract for fulfillment we check for successful completion of all specified courses --or their agreed upon equivalents..

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When/Where do classes meet, typically?

Our 2013 - 2017 Course Plan can help in planning a sequence leading to licensure, certificates, and degrees.

All of the classes for licensure are offered in a hybrid manner, giving you three choices of attendance: (1) onsite here at SCSU, (2) synchronously online via a high speed internet connection and a headset w/microphone, or (3) asynchronously online by watching a recording of the class and interacting with discussion questions on the classroom management system. Students can mix and match the options. Most classes will require at least one meeting be synchronous for presentation and project purposes.

Information Media also maintains an electronic mailing list (sometimes referred to as a "listserv") that you can join so you receive information via email about the program as needed. Regularly, we send out the tentative and final course schedules for upcoming semesters using this e-mail list. If you would like to subscribe to this service, follow the instructions below:

  1. Send a blank e-mail message (from the e-mail account you want to use to receive IM news) to:
  2. You will receive a message back asking for confirmation.
  3. Reply to that message.

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What if I want to obtain a master's degree from SCSU?

The first step in starting a master’s degree is to contact SCSU's School of Graduate Studies. See the Graduate Studies web site for application information: or contact via e-mail: If you decide to pursue a degree (a decision that should wait for no more than one semester), you will be assigned a graduate adviser once you are admitted to the program. Until then, the licensure adviser can help you out with the preliminaries of the licensure process. If you intend to pursue licensure only, then you will (continue) to consult with the licensure adviser.

All courses needed for licensure are in the "Track II: Library Media" master’s program. However, you need to be (at least) in the process of entering the master’s program for courses to count towards completion of the masters (beyond an initial semester's worth of courses). So, IF you are thinking of masters, begin the process of applying so all your courses apply towards a program, instead of "just" towards licensure. The distinction can be subtle, which is why it's emphasized now.

Additionally, you get priority registration for courses when you're "in" a master’s program--otherwise (as a "special" student) you register dead last.

See our course offerings at for more info on the various masters programs.

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What if I already have a master's degree in another field (Librarianship, for example)?

See above regarding degree programs. School Library Media Specialist encompasses both technology (multimedia production, computers, etc.) and "traditional" librarianship (cataloging, reference, reader's advisory, etc.) along with graduate level work in education like instructional design, curriculum, administration, etc. Tell the licensure adviser about your previous preparation to give him/her an idea about which courses may need refreshers. It's likely that some of your prior work/school could apply.

Another option is a second masters from an accredited university. This could be useful if you were interested in work in a post-secondary institution.

The primary issue is for you to establish your basic teacher licensure bona fides (known as "being able to demonstrate the Standards of Effective Practice" [the SEP]). You need two entities to agree on two separate but inextricably intertwined things:

  1. MnBOT needs to know that you can "demonstrate the standards for effective practice for licensing of beginning teachers" -- The Information Media department cannot do that. We would refer you to SCSU's Teacher Development department.
  2. Someone [else] has to say that you can "show verification of completing a Board of Teaching preparation program...leading to the licensure of library media specialists..." --this we CAN do in CIM.

As already stated above, my strong recommendation would be to pursue full licensure with a teacher training institution as a teacher of something related to your undergraduate major (perhaps)-- taking only that course work that applies directly to being licensed in that area. Then (concurrently if feasible) pursue whatever other course work we'd require for full licensure as a school library media specialist. You'd then have two licenses-- an important bulwark against future cutbacks that could conceivably affect you negatively should you only have the one license. If you want to pursue library media as a standalone license with us (SCSU) then we'll have to hook you up with our Teacher Development department to see what they'd require to recommend you as meeting the SEP.

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What about working under a variance?

The State has instituted a type of licensure called a "Nonrenewable License" for people seeking to work outside their present licensure area while they complete a program that leads to full licensure and is valid for three years. Among the requirements for the application is that the individual must be in an approved program leading to full licensure. Towards that end we should set up a 'contract' as per this FAQ so that you can document your involvement with a licensure program.

Alternatively, your administrator can get a "personnel variance" for one year (renewable annually for an additional two years) for you to be the school library media specialist. It's likely your administrator is interested in seeing you commit to a licensure program before they ask for the variance so, once again, setting up a licensure contract is a good idea.

There are some other employment conditions spelled out in the rules that need to be addressed as well. The nonrenewable license rule is found at: --and the personnel variance rule is found at:

After completion of the other licensure requirements, you can obtain full licensure, even before finishing your master’s program if you are pursuing one.

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How can I find out more about the school media profession?

  • Call a K-12 school in the area of interest and ask for the media person in charge and see if you can drop by for a talk.
  • Check the web site for the professional organization of school library media people here in Minnesota: MEMO []
  • Subscribe to the mailing list for Minnesota media people and "listen in" to the messages being exchanged.
    Subscription Information:
    1. To subscribe to the 'MEMOList' mailing list, use this link:
    2. Put in the full e-mail address where you want to get your MEMOList mailings.
    3. A message will be sent to that address immediately explaining how to 'confirm' your subscription to the list.
  • Another VERY active national library/media mailing list is LM-NET. Following the same procedure as above, send the message:
    subscribe lm-net putYourFirstName andLastNameHere to to join.
  • Visit the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) web site [].

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What about work in other libraries (other than school media centers)? What about ALA accreditation?

Since we don't offer a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree accredited by the American Library Association, your options outside of school media are conditional upon the prospective employer's flexibility in considering an IM master’s degree in Education as equivalent for hiring purposes. You will (in that situation) always need to overcome the perception that accreditation = ability/quality exclusively. You need to be cognizant of this and be certain of your career goals, a priori. That being said, we have lots of graduates who found work in "other" libraries--mostly in Minnesota where lack of an ALA program combined with our forward-looking approach to information services combine to make our graduates attractive and successful practitioners, particularly in public libraries.

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I soon will be/am already working in a media center. Can I use this experience in lieu of the IM 682 practicum?

If you have been working on either a personnel variance or a non-renewable licensure or the designated library media specialist, you may be able to waive some of the practicum credits by documenting your on-site experiences. However, since the licensure is K-12 you will need to provide evidence of experience representative of all levels of service. Start keeping a portfolio of the day-to-day as well as the special projects you're doing so that when you document your equivalent educational experience you have stuff to remind you of all the great things you've done so you can tell us about them in a coherent and comprehensive fashion in the narrative. You don't necessarily need to log each and every day's work, but you should be able to list what duties you typically perform as well as the special projects / acquisitions / accomplishments that, together, document your performance as a practicing library/media specialist and that address the licensure rule's specific competencies. It's easy to forget, or to just assume, how much work we do. This way you can produce a well-written and documented equivalent educational experience.

As a general rule dealing with the practicum is one of the concluding steps in your pursuit of licensure. Contact the LMS Practicum coordinator when you are ready to begin planning your practicum at: im@stcloudstate, 320-308-2062. At that time you can also request the form and instructions.

For the practicum itself you must work with (i.e., alongside, in consultation with) a licensed school library media specialist, performing (as much as possible) the normal duties of the media person in that school.

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I'm all (but) done with courses! What do I do next?

Once you have completed your course work (or are near the end of the last courses you'll need) AND you have received a score for the State mandated test(s) (see above), it's time to start the ball rolling on your application for the actual LMS license. Here's how it works:

  1. Send an e-mail to requesting the "school LMS license application packet" -- Be sure to include your mailing address!
  2. The packet you receive will contain the State's form and our instructions for completing the application packet.
  3. Complete the form and assemble all the other necessary documents (copy of present teaching license [if you hold one], test score report, license fee check). Request official transcripts from all the schools listed on your contract as having courses counted towards your licensure. Note: Transcripts must be sent directly to us by the registrar(s).
  4. Once you have completed the packet, the department will review to make certain you have met all the course work requirements and then forward it to SCSU's licensing officer with a recommendation that it be approved and submitted to the State.
  5. The process can take 4 - 6 weeks. You should receive your LMS license in the mail. (and "Congratulations!" --in advance.)

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How can I reach/see the licensure adviser?

The current school LMS licensure adviser is Marcia Thompson. Call and leave a message (320-308-2062) or e-mail with further questions.

For a campus map go to .

For other information using surface mail, FAX or telephone, contact:

Information Media Department
St. Cloud State University
EB B118
720 Fourth Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
Tel. 320-308-2062
FAX 320-308-4778

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