Primary and Secondary Documentation

The documentation for your portfolio will be of two types: PRIMARY and SECONDARY.  Most candidates use primary and secondary documentation in conjunction with Portfolio Development Suggestions.

PRIMARY documentation is direct evidence of your knowledge and skills in a particular competency.  If you worked with other staff members on these tasks, you must identify your role in these tasks.  Identifying your specific role and contributions will help you demonstrate your skills and knowledge. 

Primary documentation may include Responses to PDS or an essay-like description of your knowledge and skills in a competency

  • Descriptions of projects you have completed for work or as part of your professional development (remember if you worked on a team to be clear about your role on the team.
  • Marketing materials
  • Descriptions and handouts from program presentations
  • Brochures or booklists
  • Reports and plans
  • Exhibits and artwork
  • Websites or other technology
  • Photos that document your work
  • Video tapes or audio tapes of your work (for example, conducting a story hour)
  • Assignments from workshops or courses

SECONDARY documentation provides indirect evidence of your achievement of individual competencies.  You may use these documents to add to your PRIMARY documents to give more evidence that you have achieved the competencies.

SECONDARY documentation may include, but is not limited to:

  • Job descriptions and performance evaluations
  • Letters from colleagues, supervisors, and library users about your skills and knowledge
  • Newspaper articles that mention a relevant project
  • Awards and certificates
  • Letters from representatives from other community agencies that describe your contribution to collaborative relationships that enhance library services
  • Certificates from relevant training and/or education records
  • Transcripts of relevant college coursework (For example, you may have taken a course in child development or children’s literature for the Youth Competency set.  You must demonstrate through PRIMARY documentation how you have or will apply this knowledge.  If you completed these courses long ago, show how you have used this knowledge in recent years.)

These are examples of SECONDARY documentation.  No candidate is required to furnish any or all the documents listed above and SECONDARY documents alone are not enough to document your knowledge and skills.  The choice of documents will depend upon your unique experiences and opportunities.  There may be other documentation that is not listed here that you may include because it is appropriate for you.  Secondary documentation has been described as “icing on the cake” to prove that you have completed the requirements.

In selecting primary and secondary documentation, consider which items will best enable you to exhibit your competency in a particular area.  Remember, preference is given to primary documentation, with secondary documentation used as a supplement.