Having just completed the National Boards process in March, I am impressed with how much I learned over the past year. It is a certification that I would urge librarians around the state to try and achieve. Not only is it the best professional development that I have engaged in in my eleven years as a school librarian, it is also financially rewarded by most districts, and the state is considering paying an extra stipend too. However, I urge other Alaska librarians to consider becoming certified not just for for these reasons, but because it strengthens our profession as a whole. When educators and administrators see a large group of us as nationally certified professionals, they will regard us as more than just book clerks, easy to get rid of in times of financial difficulties.
There are several nationally certified librarians in our state who are very generous with their time and encouraging when helping National Board applicants. A large percentage of Alaska librarians achieve certification on their first try due in part to the outstanding support from their fellow librarians. Another wonderful resource we have in the state is the Jump Start course that helps applicants get started each June. This course is held in Anchorage, is hosted by NEA-AK, and transportation, housing, and two meals a day are also covered. Taking this course will demystify the process and get you on your way. The course is now open for registration, but sign up soon, the spaces fill up quickly! I highly recommend that anyone remotely considering the process take this course. It will help you make up your mind, and is a very inexpensive and enjoyable two credits!
Although I don’t find out until Thanksgiving whether I am certified, I am happy to answer questions or refer you to someone who knows the answers!