Volume 29, Number 1, Spring 2007

Alliance Library System Creates Multitype Consultant Certification Program

Lee A. Logan, Alliance Library System, East Peoria, Illinois

The multitype library system model has been around for years, however, no formal accreditation or training for consultants exists. A consultant comes to the job with a broad skill base, usually gained from experiences in more than one type of library, and learns about multitype librarianship as the job unfolds.

To address the need for consultant orientation, Lee A. Logan and Kitty Pope of Alliance Library System in East Peoria, Illinois, developed the Multitype Consultant Certification Program (MCCP).

MCCP focuses on defining the multitype environment and addressing specific experiences common in multitype consulting. Within the course of their careers, multitype consultants will face situations in eight different disciplines:

  • multitype environment;
  • governance;
  • legislation and library law;
  • planning and budgeting;
  • grant development;
  • library and personnel development;
  • marketing; and
  • teaching and presentation skills
The MCCP curriculum includes five competencies for each of the eight disciplines (see, for example, Legislation/Library Law, below). Designed to enhance job understanding, the competencies focus on learning and highlight the need for communication. To simulate a real world situation, each discipline includes an internship, writing, research, or teaching experience. The consultant is required to complete two competencies in each discipline, as well as a final oral presentation.

At Alliance Library System, the MCCP is supervised by the director of consulting and continuing education. Upon a consultant’s successful completion of the program, the executive director makes a recommendation, based on budget considerations, to the board of directors to increase the candidate’s base salary by $1,000.

The system uses the program as an orientation plan for new consultants. By participating in real-life situations common to consulting, the consultant can select a course of study that allows for an informed and skilled response to future situations. Alliance’s newest consultant and first graduate of the program, Angie Green, found the MCCP to be very effective for learning the day-to-day operations of a multitype consultant. "Now that I have completed the program, I have the tools to be able to provide solutions to the questions or problems our member libraries encounter,” she said.

The program is useful as a continuing education tool for established consultants, as well. After comparing the past experiences of his team, Logan recognized competencies that they had not encountered previously. He used the opportunity to employ the hands-on program to build additional knowledge and skills on which the consultants could rely in future situations.

Logan notes, “As department chairperson, the program provides me with a pathway for strengthening the development of the consulting team. The ultimate goal of the program is to have a ‘ready and able’ staff trained to handle real-life situations as they arise, rather than handling scenarios unprepared on the fly.”

For a complete copy of Alliance Library System’s MultiType Consultants Certification Program, contact Lee Logan.

Alliance Library System Multi-Type Consultant Certification Program: Legislation/Library Law

Requirements: Complete two (2) of the following competencies.
  1. Assist in the organization of the system’s Advocacy Day. Write and present a two-page report on how it could be improved. Follow through with suggested improvements.
  2. Attend four (4) Illinois Library Association public policy meetings via videoconference. After each meeting, prepare and make a five-minute presentation to the Department regarding what you learned.
  3. Complete a case study using Illinois Library Law. Prepare and make a 20-minute presentation to the Department regarding what you learned.
  4. Independent Research: Track a legislative bill from conception to completion. Prepare and make presentations to the Department regarding its progress.
  5. Prepare and present one of the following continuing education programs:
    1. “What You Need to Know About Illinois Library Law”
    2. “HR Law and the Library”