Portfolios vs. Approved Courses

Watch the LSSC Portfolio Webinar!

Should you take an approved course or prepare a portfolio?  That depends on the knowledge and skills you already feel you have in the competency sets.  It also depends on whether you prefer to learn on your own by reading, taking workshops (not approved courses), analyzing scenarios and/or developing projects related to the competency sets.

Do you feel you have already achieved the knowledge and skills represented in the competency sets? Would you like to design a way to learn more about the competency sets?  If you answer yes to either of these, you may want to consider a portfolio. If you have not, you may want to look for an approved course. Although you will probably be required to complete assignments in an approved course, once you complete the course satisfactorily, you do not have to develop a portfolio for that competency set.

First, look at the individual competencies in the required competency sets:

You must achieve these competency sets. Which of these sets do you feel you already have knowledge and skills and can demonstrate this through a portfolio? Which are areas of library service that you feel you do not have enough knowledge or skill and would need to take an approved course?

Second, look at the remaining seven competency sets and choose in which three you will demonstrate your achievement or want to learn more:

Which are the three competency sets in which you have the most interest? This could be areas in which you already have experience or areas in which you want to learn more.

Which of the competency sets do you feel you already have knowledge and skills and can demonstrate this through a portfolio? Which are areas of library service that you would like to know more about through developing your own course of study that could lead to a portfolio? For which do you feel you would need to take an approved course?

Now you can make your decision (although this doesn’t have to be made all at once and you can change your mind! You can choose which competencies to work on over time.) You can use this chart as a guide of the decisions you have made. Add your own notes under the columns “Take an Approved Course” and “Prepare a Portfolio.”

Competency Take an Approved Course Prepare a Portfolio
Foundations of Library Service (required)
Communication and Teamwork (required)
Technology (required)
Access Services
Adult Readers Advisory
Cataloging and Classification
Collection management
Reference and Information Services
Supervision and Management
Youth Services