Monday, December 3, 2012

The 4 (and 1/2) steps to Library Support Staff Certification

Let’s Talk about Library Support Staff Certification

Currently there are 312 active candidates in the LSSC program and 22 graduates ”The Library Support Staff Certification Program is for Library Support Staff who have a high-school degree or its equivalent and worked (paid or unpaid) in libraries for at least one year (or its equivalent of 1820 hours) in the last 5 years and want to:
  • Achieve recognition for your work 
  • Enhance your service 
  • Increase your skills & knowledge”

For the most up-to-date information about the program you will want to read the October 2012 issue of Breaking News ( “Breaking News”, which I believe is published quarterly, will also provide you with information about course subsidies to help pay costs, any changes in the program, as well as new classes that have become available. This is sent by email to all program participants.

It is true that through the classes I have taken, I have “enhanced my customer service skills and I have increased my skills and knowledge.” I was doing fine in my job, but knew I could do better if I added library-specific skills (reference, readers advisory) and knowledge (classification systems, ils systems) to my career toolbox.

The First Step: (#1 & #2)

Familiarize yourself with the program. Everything you need to know about the program can be found at , especially the Getting Started Toolkit ( I think if you do this you will have a pretty good idea about whether you want to pursue certification.

If you do, then then the next first step is registering for the program, the requirements for which are very basic and can be found at the LSSC website. The current upfront registration fee is $325.00 for ALA members or $350.00 for non-ALA members. The application process and fee is applied through LiveText, an academic management system for which you will have an account. How much you interact with the certification staff through LiveText depends on the method you choose to achieve your certification. (There are many webinars scheduled throughout the year to help you access and use LiveText successfully – so don’t worry too much if it seems really complicated.)

The Second Step:

So the second step is to become familiar with the competencies and decide which ones you want to pursue. You must complete a total of six competencies. Three are required, but the other three can be chosen from the list based on your own professional interests. You can either choose to complete the competency requirements by taking classes or by developing your own portfolios, or you can utilize a combination of these methods. Remember the following:

If you choose to take classes you need to contact the class providers, register and pay for the class through that institution and you will receive your CCC or certificate of course completion from them. It is the Certificate of Course Completion that you need to upload into LiveText as documentation of having met the competency requirements.
If you choose to create portfolios then I recommend you attend a webinar about portfolio development. These are offered frequently. There is also much information at the LSSC website. You will work in LiveText much more if you are developing portfolios to meet the competency requirements. Also, I would think that developing a portfolio can be very rewarding because you can develop your own learning plan while taking into account skills you already have gained through your work experience.

The Third Step:

The third step is just following through and enjoying the learning journey. I chose to meet the competency requirements exclusively by taking online classes and I certainly have enjoyed the journey! I am in the last two weeks of my last class, but I’m not sure I want to stop learning. I am looking at other ways to continue my professional learning, as well as my personal learning. I have been exploring Webjunction, Infopeople and NW Central, which is the continuing education resource center for library staff in Oregon.

The Fourth Step:

Keep in mind that there are requirements one must meet to maintain certification. These requirements are detailed on the LSSC website under Renewal Policy ( . This should be done within four years of your initial certification and there is a $100 fee associated with recertification.

Are you wondering how you’ll pay for the program? I don’t know, but I can tell you what I did. I just paid my registration fee up-front. I applied for a subsidy for my first class through the LSSC program, which I was granted. I paid for the class upfront and then received reimbursement after submitting documentation of having successfully completed the course. The second class I took was expensive, but you find that some classes just are. Remember that you have the privilege of picking and choosing from growing number of class providers. So, for the remaining four classes I used the same provider because I found they delivered good, basic classes at a price I thought I could afford by saving up between classes. For my last class I again applied for a subsidy. To explore ways to pay for your classes, you should go to the LSSC site, paying special attention to the sections titled Ideas to pay for LSSC ( and Course Subsidy Information (

If you’re considering this program for yourself….”Let’s talk about it”.
Sylvia is our Oregon Library Association Library Support Staff Member-At-Large, and a sometimes-blogger when her busy work and school schedule permits.

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