California Public Library Staff Education Program

Program Goal

The Public Library Staff Education Program is a tuition reimbursement program developed by the California State Library in partnership with the Southern California Library Cooperative to improve library services to California’s diverse communities. To support the professional development of California public libraries, the program provides California public library staff with tuition reimbursement for courses required for a master’s degree in library and information science.

The Public Library Staff Education Program is supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.


To be eligible to apply, applicants must meet all requirements below:


Tuesday, October 31, 2023, 12 p.m. (noon): Student applications are due.

November-December 2023: All applicants will be notified about the status of their requests, whether funded, not funded, or placed on a waiting list.

July 31, 2023: As classes are completed after the Summer 2023, Fall 2023, Winter/Spring 2024 academic terms, students submit receipts and proof of successful completion of class for reimbursement. All requests for tuition reimbursement and a student final narrative report must be submitted to the Cooperative Library System contact person by this date.

Application Information

To apply to participate in the 2023/24 Public Library Staff Education Program, complete a student application at

Below is student application information for reference use only.

For application questions, please contact Wayne Walker at

How The Program Works

Employees of public libraries and county law libraries are eligible to apply for tuition reimbursement for their graduate coursework toward a master’s in library science at an ALA-accredited library school. Tuition reimbursement is for classes taken during Summer 2023 through Spring 2024.

This program is competitive; not every applicant will be selected to receive funding. All applications will be reviewed for eligibility and selection is based upon the comprehensive, but not exclusive, criteria below:

  1. Does the applicant’s essay demonstrate skills, abilities, experience in outreach to underserved populations and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion?
  2. How close is the student to graduating within the grant period (Summer 2023-Spring 2024)?
  3. How long has the applicant worked in libraries?
  4. Is the application complete?
  5. Would the reviewer recommend this application for funding?

All applicants will be notified if they are selected to receive reimbursement funding. Those not selected will also receive appropriate notification. The program includes a waiting list, and applicants who are not selected might learn later in the year that funds are available for them.

This is a tuition reimbursement opportunity. If selected to receive reimbursement funding, students must first pay for courses, then complete courses with a grade of B- or above (or Pass for no letter grade courses). Once courses have been completed, students must provide proof of tuition fees paid and a copy of grades received to the cooperative library system. When final reimbursement is requested, students must complete a student final narrative report. The cooperative library system will then issue the final reimbursement directly to the student.

Students are selected to receive tuition reimbursement for one year only; they must apply through a competitive process for each year that they seek tuition reimbursement.

What PLSEP Funds Cover

Individuals can receive reimbursement for library school course fees, not to exceed $7,500 per grant year.

Students who are receiving course reimbursement from an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant or another grant can only receive PLSEP reimbursement for those courses not previously reimbursed.

What PLSEP Funds Do Not Cover

Books, student union and association fees, lab fees, health fees, transcript fees, and parking are not reimbursed under this program.

Other Professional Development Opportunities

For other continuing education opportunities for California public library staff, please visit CALL Academy — Fostering Learning and Growth in California Libraries

Other Resources for Financial Assistance