ALSC Online Courses

ALSC Online Class: Demonstrating YS Competencies

As we wrap our heads around the updated ALSC YS Competencies and what they mean to us personally and as a library industry, the professional portfolio helps us reflect on what we do well and allows us to demonstrate it to possible employers and to administrators during evaluations, when asking for a promotion, or proving the success of a grant project, etc. Documentation of your skills enables you to move upwards in your organization.

A portfolio also allows us to see where we have gaps in our learning. Maybe we want to learn more about technology; maybe we want some experience supervising small projects to apply for a department head position; maybe we make it a point to do outreach for a group we haven’t worked with. In the class, we will make SMART goals for areas you want to work on. You don’t need to complete the goal by the end of class, but this will give you a roadmap for future professional development. For example, this year my goal is to do a Dia program because our library has never done one, we don’t have any multicultural programming, and our English Language Learning community is growing and is underserved. I won’t do the program until April, but I have a SMART goal plan laid out so I am prepared for each step.

The class I am teaching will be a highly reflective class designed to help you find ways to demonstrate your competence in the youth services field. You will formulate solid goals and a plan to work towards them. And you will learn about and practice some of the competencies you are less familiar with or have not had a chance to demonstrate. We will work on several things each week:

  1. submitting a portfolio artifact
  2. formulating a SMART goal
  3. answering mock interview questions.

We will focus on one or two competency sections each week.

When I was in school to become a teacher, we were required to make a teaching portfolio which showed the professional teaching standards and included two artifacts per standard to show our teaching competency. We could do an online or a physical portfolio. It was invaluable during interviews because you could point to actual student work, lesson plans or pictures of things you did while talking about it. Somehow it made your work more real and tangible for the employer talking to you. It was visually appealing and made you look more professional and prepared. Teachers now use professional portfolios in their evaluations and to demonstrate their work. They take pictures and document their work and it really looks great (in addition to being an evaluative tool for administrators). An example of an artifact demonstrating a competency:

We will not be able to cover everything during the scope of this class, but this should get you in the habit of identifying your strengths and showcasing them, and identifying your professional needs and figuring out how to meet them. Hopefully, you will continue this new habit to demonstrate all competencies and develop an outstanding portfolio. No one will be an expert on everything, but there are always ways to improve your professional skills.

Your classmates will provide a built-in sounding board and support group to alert you to new resources to help you, advice on answering interview questions or how you presented a certain artifact. We will be excited to hear what progress you made on your goals. We can help you polish interview answers. We can tell you how we have done programs you’ve wanted to try. We will provide feedback on your online portfolio. You might even meet your next employer or co-worker in this class!

Demonstrating ALSC Competencies  is a 6 week course which will be held January 9 through February 17, 2017. Pre-registration is required.


Today’s guest blogger is Rachel Reinwald. Rachel is the school liaison / youth services librarian at Lake Villa District Library. She blogs at

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

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