Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Defining Excellence in Academic Librarianship at USC (DEAL at USC): Academic Librarian Portfolios

When the time comes for annual or continuing appointment [tenure] reviews, how are we to document and explain to our colleagues (both within our library and within our institution), exactly what we have accomplished?

Danielle Mihram's PowerPoint Presentation

Download this Core Bibliography

Last Update: 5 June 2011

The Academic Librarian's Portfolio

The academic librarian faces a unique range of changing duties and responsibilities that are often inappropriately documented. The development of a portfolio that creates a record of evidence-based librarianship, scholarship, and service can solve this issue for librarians as they prepare for promotion or continuing appointment.

Seldin and Miller define the "Academic Portfolio" as a "reflective, evidence-based collection of materials that documents teaching, research, and service performance." (Seldin & Miller, 2009). For the majority of teaching/research faculty, this definition is adequate. However, that definition lacks the understanding of the many elements of librarianship. Although library instruction is certainly a part of librarianship, not all librarians participate in such teaching. Furthermore, not all librarians select materials. In addition, some librarians hold administrative positions while others provide technical services. Keeping this in mind, we need to prepare our portfolio so that it encompasses not only the differences in librarianship but also the diversity within types of librarianship.

The development and maintenance of our portfolio requires not only our time and effort but also our ongoing reflection on what is important about our accomplishments:

(1) The portfolio can act as a valuable tool to express our contribution in the development of not only our unit/subject library but also the university.

(2) The portfolio gives us the ability to describe the role that our activities played in our professional development, particularly if such activities demonstrate a considered process of advancement in the field of librarianship.

Core Bibliography on Academic Librarian Portfolios

Association of College and Research Libraries (2010).  Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report. Researched by Megan Oakleaf. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Dority, G. Kim (2006).  “Creating your Professional Portfolio,” Chap. 6 in Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.

Dority, G. Kim.  Rethinking Information Work. The Website for the book   "Here you'll find material that updates and expands ideas, information, and resources found in the book. In addition, monthly columns provide a forum to  investigate specific topics, career paths, and professional skills in greater depth. I hope the content adds value to your career exploration!"

Elmhurst College Faculty Council, Spring 2000.  “The Professional Portfolio for Librarians.”  (Downloadable Word Document).

Farmer, Diana, Marcia Stockham, and Alice Trussell (2009).  “Revitalizing a Mentoring Program for Academic Librarians,” College & Research Libraries , Jan. 2009.

Howard, Jennifer (2011).  “College Librarians Look at Better Ways to Measure the Value of their Services,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2011.

Marcum. James W. (2003). “Visions – The Academic Library in 2012." D-Lib Magazine 9(5), May 2003.

Saunders, Laura (2003).  “Professional Portfolios for Librarians,” College and Undergraduate Libraries 10(1): 53-59.

Seldin, Peter and J. Elizabeth Miller (2009). The Academic Portfolio : A Practical Guide to Documenting Teaching, Research, and Service. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Seldin, Peter and Mary Lou Higgerson (2002).  Administrative Portfolio : A Practical Guide to Improved Administrative Performance and Personnel DecisionsBoston, Mass.: Anker Publishing.

vanDuinkerken, Wyoma, Catherine Coker, and Margaret Anderson (2010).  “Looking Like Everyone Else: Academic Portfolios for Librarians,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 36(2):166-172, March 2010. 


Last Update: 5 June 2011