Step 2

Organize your documentation under each competency in a competency set.

After you have looked at the competencies in a competency set and considered how you want to demonstrate each one, you are ready to organize your responses.  If you would like to see examples of work from portfolios which were approved, you can find them in Successful Portfolio Submissions.

The portfolio evaluators prefer a one-paragraph introductory statement that explains your approach to this competency.  If you have used a PDS, that will serve as the introductory statement – the evaluators will know you intend to follow the directions in the PDS.  If you do not use a PDS, then summarize how you intend to document your knowledge and skills.

We urge you to prepare your documentation on your own computer and upload it to your CAR.  Your own computer has more editing options than LiveText and you can access this whenever it is convenient for you to work.  (See the section on creating your CAR and using LiveText for more information about this process.)

Your documentation will follow your introductory statement.  This documentation  shows that you understand and can perform this competency.  If you are responding to a PDS, (remember, you need do only one per competency) be sure to follow the specific instructions in the PDS. If you are not responding to a PDS, be clear about what you did, what you learned from your experience, and an evaluation of the work you did. 

Your response can be as short as two or three paragraphs with examples of your work or up to three pages.  Except in unusual circumstances, your response should be no longer than three pages.  When your response is complete, you will want to add any additional primary or secondary documentation you might have.  Remember, while secondary documentation is important, greater emphasis is placed on the proof of your actual accomplishments through primary documentation and through your explanations.

It may take some time to assemble the documentation for the entire competency set.  For some of the individual competencies, you may already have the documentation.  For others, you may need to request letters, copies of job descriptions, or complete new learning projects,

You can upload documentation to the portfolio section of the CAR for each individual competency as it is ready or wait until you have finished the responses to the competencies and upload the entire portfolio at once.  You will have time to edit, add documents, and move documents as you think best BEFORE you request evaluation of that section.  Remember, no one has access to your portfolio until you request an evaluation for a particular competency set.

After you have gathered, organized, and uploaded the documents for the individual competencies, including the short introductory statement for each competency you will write a personal learning statement about the competency set.  See below for more about writing your Personal Learning Statement.

Some helpful hints about Portfolio Development Suggestions (PDS)

Almost all PDS have aspects: content and opinion.  To complete some of the activities you may need to conduct research.  This research may be from print resources, web resources, visits to and observations of other libraries and interviews with library staff or library users.  If you need to conduct research to complete one of the activities listed below, be sure to cite the resources that you consulted.  This is the content.  Almost all PDS also ask you to give your opinion of what you have learned.  This is an important part of the documentation.  Employers expect certified LSS to contribute ideas to library operations; thinking through issues and providing your opinion is an important part of that contribution.

  • Here is an example from the Foundations of Library Service Competency Set:

Competency #1: Library Support Staff (LSS) know the mission and roles of a library in its community and the mission of libraries in general.

Portfolio Development Suggestions

1.2    Review the Public Library Association’s Public Library Service Responses as one way of looking at a public library’s role in its community (CONTENT).  Select a public library and describe what factors might determine which of these roles this library might choose and why. Share your recommendations with at least two staff members at the library and discuss their comments (OPINION).

Some of the PDSs ask  you to prepare a bibliography that is both descriptive and evaluative.  This means that you describe the content of articles you read and then evaluate or give your opinion about the article.

  • Here is an example from the Collections Competency Set:

Competency # 2:  LSS know the basic principles of collection development and management.

Portfolio Development Suggestions

2.1    Prepare a bibliography with brief notations of five articles that identify basic principles and trends in collections (CONTENT).  Your notations should be both descriptive and evaluative. Write a one-page essay about one new direction or trend in collections (OPINION).

Some PDS suggest that you compare and contrast what happens in at least two libraries or other settings.  Finding the examples in other libraries is the content.  Compare and contrast means that you identify the similarities and differences between the way different libraries or other settings operate.  This is your opinion.  If you currently work in a library, you may use that library as one of the examples. You may use the same type of library for comparison (public OR academic) or different types of libraries (public AND academic).  Unless the suggested activity specifically indicates that you should look for examples in different types of libraries, you may choose which types you would like to compare and contrast.  You can discover how other libraries operate by conducting online research or by visiting another library and interviewing its staff.

  • Here is an example from the Technology Competency Set:

Competency # 7. LSS know the role of technology in creating, cataloging, acquiring, identifying, retrieving, and accessing information resources and demonstrate facility with appropriate information discovery tools. 

Portfolio Development Suggestions

7.2    Describe how a library could use a technology to enhance or replace a face-to-face service (for example, virtual reference) (CONTENT).  Find three examples from library sites (CONTENT) and compare and contrast their ease of use, accessibility, timeliness, and potential results for the library user (OPINION).

You may also be asked to analyze or describe “your community.”  Community can mean the community served by a public library, the higher education community served by an academic library, the k-12 community served by a school library, or the corporate or non-profit community served by a special library.

Proceed to Step 3