Essential Books for American Notaries

As a notary public, you have a responsibility to educate yourself on the duties of the office. While a few of the larger states have some classes and required exams, most states seem to leave the matter of notary education squarely on the shoulders of the notary. The laws require that you know what you’re allowed to do, how you’re expected to do it, and what you must not do. Judges tend to take a dim view of those who claim ignorance of the law as an excuse, so, protect yourself while you serve the public properly by studying the following books.

First, you will need the notary handbook for your state, if it has one.

Second, you will want to visit the Secretary of State’s website and the Attorney General’s website for your state to gather any information you can find there about rules, regulations, or Official Opinions on notary matters. You may need to visit your local library to get access to a legal search engine so that you can read the AG’s opinions, as they may not all be easily found online.

Third, while you’re at the library, visit the business section and see if they have the following books. If they do, read them and make notes in your own notebook about what they say.

Fourth, as soon as you can, buy your own copies of these books so you have them at home or in your office to refer back to when questions arise.

Notary Public Practices and Glossary by Raymond C. Rothman — available from the National Notary Association (

Notary Law, Procedures & Ethics — by Peter J Van Alstyne  — available from the Notary Law Institute (

Notary Public Encyclopedia by Peter J Van Alstyne — also available from the Notary Law Institute.

You may find these books cheaper on ebay, Amazon, abebooks, or other sites, but be aware that those may not be the most recent editions which are more likely to contain up-to-date information.

If you get those books and read them cover to cover, you will have a good grounding in what it means to be a notary public.

Fifth, after you’ve done the above steps, you will be ready to read articles on the websites of the American Association of NotariesGoGetNotary, 123notary, NotaryRotary’s forum, the American Society of Notaries, the National Notary Association, NotaryCafe (forums coming soon), and other sites and evaluate them for usefulness and trustworthiness.

You can also find video and other online notary training available on youtube and many other sites, but I highly recommend that you read these books before you take any such courses, as you need to know what to filter out from them (such as elements that may not be true in your state or may not be stated clearly).

For marketing and growing your business, i recommend you start with this book:
Marketing Your Non-Loan Notary Services by Laura Vestanen  (available on Amazon and other sites) .

I am working on a series of books about being a notary public. Please Follow this blog to receive notice when the first of those becomes available, as I am confident that it will be very helpful to every American notary.

There you have it — a notary education program laid out for you. Follow these steps and you will be well-prepared to offer your notary public services to customers and clients.


About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed/single. Customs Broker, Notary Public, Signing Agent, Writer, and Ordained Minister. #catdaddy Science fiction and fantasy fan, avid reader, Founder of the Darrell Awards. Author of _Getting Started As A Notary Signing Agent_ (available from Please be kind to one another.
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1 Response to Essential Books for American Notaries

  1. Tim Gatewood says:

    I really should have included the I.D. Checking Guide in the list of Essential Books. Without that, how is a notary supposed to know enough to spot fake IDs, especially if they come from other states? You can get it online at many sources. The publisher is at


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