This paper examines whether certification of librarians is necessary to ensure high quality service. The paper explains the purpose of professional certification and provides a synopsis of the history of national librarian certification initiatives in the U.S. A literature review evaluates arguments supporting and opposing certification. Arguments in favor of certification are unconvincing and reveal certification supporters’ professional insecurities, failure to consider the certification bureaucracy that would be created, and lack of evidence to support their claims. Given these findings, the paper concludes that librarian certification is unnecessary. Library professionals are encouraged to take other proactive steps to expand their role, importance, and impact in the 21st century.

About Author

Jonathan Pacheco Bell is an MLIS student at SJSU-SLIS and a Research Assistant for SJSU’s IMLS grant-funded national study “Making Space for Young Adults in Public Libraries: Establishing a Research Foundation.” Jonathan received his M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA and studied political science and architecture as an undergraduate. He works as an urban planner in Los Angeles, CA.