List of courses



Candidates pursuing a Certificate in managing a small public library must complete at least ten EXCEL courses, including six mandatory courses, within five years. In special circumstances, students may be allowed to extend this five-year limit, however, permission to do so must be requested (in writing) from the EXCEL Course Director. Individuals not interested in pursuing the certificate may take courses of interest to them.

PLEASE NOTE:  Students who registered in the program prior to September 2009 will follow the old requirements until they complete their program of study. Under the old requirements, the mandatory/core courses are: E1 (Introduction to Public Libraries), E2 (Basic Library Management) or E3 (Supervision), E4 (Information Services), E5 (Library Marketing), E6 (Basic Collection Development) and one of E7 (Collection Development for Children), E8 (Collection Development for Young Adults) and E9 (Collection Development for Adults and Special Groups). You also have the choice of following the new requirements for mandatory courses, if you wish. If you have any questions about your situation, please send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact Alexandra Taylor, EXCEL Course Director, at 1-800-387-5765 ext. 5102.

Mandatory Courses (as of September 2009)

1. Introduction to Public Libraries

This orientation course provides an introduction to the purpose and function of libraries, and provides an overview of the governance, organization, collections, staffing and services of public libraries. Specialized vocabulary will be introduced and an understanding of the history of recorded information and current library issues such as copyright and censorship will be acquired. This course is a requirement for the certificate.

2. Basic Library Management

Designed for chief executive officers, this course reviews the governance structure of public libraries, the implications of being a corporation, and the need for a constitution and by-laws. Discusses the roles and responsibilities of trustees, the chief executive officer, secretary and treasurer. Covers the management of library services, finance and personnel. Certificate candidates must take either this course or Supervision, but they may not take both.

3. Supervision

Designed for subordinate staff, and, in particular, branch heads, this course reviews the governance structure of public libraries with emphasis on county libraries and focuses on personnel issues. Following a discussion of roles and responsibilities of the chief executive officer and the branch head, the focus of the course switches to the supervision of personnel. Certificate candidates must take either this course or Basic library management, but they may not take both.

4. Information Services

Discusses selecting a basic reference collection, developing a search strategy for using that collection, types of reference service, how to answer typical questions, identifying outside resources, and developing effective reference interview techniques. This course does not cover sources of electronic information (see EXCEL course #17). This course is a requirement for the certificate.

6. Basic Collection Development

Discusses needs assessment, collection development policies, collection assessment, short- and long-term collection, planning, and buying plans. This course is a requirement for the certificate.

17. Electronic Information Sources -- (NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED)

Introduces electronic information sources, the reference interview, search strategies, ready reference sources and topic specific resources.

18. Planning for library service

Aimed at the CEO and other staff who are involved in the planning process for public libraries, this course discusses planning in detail, including needs assessment, surveys, goals and objectives, implementation, monitoring, evaluating and review.  This course is a requirement for the certificate program.

Elective Courses

5. Library Marketing

Discusses planning in relation to marketing, including determining the target audience, developing appropriate programs and services, choosing the correct marketing mix, and designing promotional materials. Covers resources available to assist in library marketing.

7. Collection Development for Children

Reviews in detail books for young children (picture, Mother Goose, alphabet, counting, concept, beginning-to-read, wordless, paper-engineered), traditional literature for all ages (folktales, fables, myths, epics and legends), fiction (realistic fiction, mystery and detective, adventure, animal, ghost, historical, fantasy, science fiction), poetry, non-fiction, magazines, and touches on audiovisual material. Discusses selecting and evaluating these materials, and providing programs and library services for children.

8. Collection Development for Young Adults

Reviews, in detail, genre fiction (realistic fiction, romance, science fiction, fantasy, adventure, mystery, horror, and humour), non-fiction, magazines, and touches on audiovisual materials. Discusses selecting and evaluating these materials, and providing programs and library services for young adults.

9. Collection Development for Adults and Special Groups

Discusses selecting and evaluating fiction and non-fiction materials, including non-book materials, for adults and special groups, maintaining awareness of current trends and issues involving adult materials, and providing programs and library services for adults and special groups.

10. Acquisitions and Serials -- (NO LONGER OFFERED)

11. Communication Skills

Covers basic writing skills and skills for specialized types of writing including reports, terms of reference, procedures, requests for proposals, annual reports and business letters. Covers oral presentation skills including preparing the presentation, using visual aids and delivering different types of talks.

12. Collection Organization

Covers principles of collection organization, use of Dewey Decimal Classification system, Library of Congress Subject Headings, CIP data, and ALA Filing Rules. It also covers creating bibliographic records using the MARC Records system.  It briefly covers purchasing cataloguing from commercial vendors.

13. Circulation -- (NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED)

Covers policies and procedures and files for circulation systems. Explores advantages and disadvantages of computerized circulation systems, but does not describe individual software packages in any detail.

14. Non-book Materials -- (NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED)

This course is intended to broaden your understanding of non-book materials. It includes a discussion of the development of a non-book collection, and looks specifically at video recordings, audio recordings, CD-ROM and DVD materials.

15. Microcomputer Applications for Small Libraries -- (NO LONGER OFFERED).

16. Professional Development -- (NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED)

Discusses objectives for attending a conference or workshop, using reporting techniques as follow-up to workshops and conferences and relating the workshop/conference to the individual library situation. Requires attendance at 12 hours of professional development events over a period of approximately 12 months.

19. Readers' Advisory Services

Readers advisory is the process of matching readers with books and books to readers. It is answering questions that have more to do with the patrons leisure reading than their informational needs. Readers advisory deals with both fiction and non-fiction titles and a specific request may require both kinds of materials to meet a need. This course covers the techniques of working in the area of readers advisory work, but also provides suggestions for the range of options available in this type of service.

20. Programming

Public libraries have a rich tradition of programming with children, young adults and adults, as a way of providing additional opportunities for information, learning and entertainment. This course will cover various aspects around programming in the public library including development, planning, presentation and evaluation of programs for all ages. There is a section covering partnerships with other community agencies, organizations, educational and cultural institutions, or individuals, to develop and present co-sponsored public programs. Policy issues such as fees, permissions and liabilities will also be discussed in this course.

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