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Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

  • 1.  Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 04, 2019 10:38 AM
    Edited by Mariel Matthews Oct 07, 2019 04:16 PM

    Hi All,

    I am a children's librarian in a public library for the past 3.5 years. I am considering creating an online portfolio. I have a few questions about the whole concept. First, as a children's librarian in a public library, what are the most important ideas/things to have in an online portfolio? Second, is having an online portfolio advantageous for us? Why? Three, what web building sites are good ones to use?

    Thanks all,


    Mariel Matthews
    Children's Librarian

  • 2.  RE: Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 05, 2019 12:13 PM
    What would be your purpose in doing this? It's not possible to answer the other questions without knowing why you want to create on. I can think of several reasons, and all of them would have different answers.

    Suzanne Stauffer
    Associate Professor
    Louisiana State University

  • 3.  RE: Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 07, 2019 11:02 AM

    I have not completed my studies yet (Syracuse i-school), but I've learned a good amount about technology and the importance of cultivating a familiarity for what technologies are out there and how to use different ones for different purposes.

    I *do* think an online portfolio is important. It shows that you have a working knowledge of different applications and are comfortable using technology.  It is also a "one stop shop" for prospective employers to see what you can do.

    I am working on one right now. I have a logo and a catchphrase. I have Squarespace. I own my own domain.

    You can start with a web site or blog on a free platform such as Wix or Weebly.

    My classes have helped me use different applications such as; using a green screen, podcasting, making a promo video, Scratch, making a video book report and much more. Most importantly, I have much more confidence in my ability to learn new things and not be so intimidated by something new.

    Of course, you can have your resume on your site.

    Best of luck!

    Lillian Velez
    Student, Syracuse i-school

    Library Associate I, Dee J. Kelly Law Library, Texas A&M University School of Law

  • 4.  RE: Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 07, 2019 04:22 PM
    Thank you! This was so helpful!

    Mariel Matthews
    Children's Librarian
    Long Island University, Post

  • 5.  RE: Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 07, 2019 04:21 PM
    Great point. I have two goals/reasons for wanting to create an online portfolio. The main point and the one I am willing to share is I want to use it to collect the programming and accomplishments that have happened in my library career. I would like to do this in the best light as possible.

    Mariel Matthews
    Children's Librarian
    Long Island University, Post

  • 6.  RE: Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 09, 2019 07:02 AM

    An online portfolio is generally used by people on the job market, and it is not made available to the public (or should not be) for confidentiality and intellectual property reasons. It would also be visible to your current employers if it were public, so keep that in mind. I worked for a library system once that was absolutely paranoid about its "image" and obsessively monitored listservs and the Internet for any unsanctioned mention of the library.

    Your resume is the best place to record your accomplishments, and you do want to update that on a regular basis with dates and details. You would use an electronic portfolio for things like flyers that you designed, newsletter articles you wrote, book trailers you created, etc. That could be online as a webpage or it could be a folder on the cloud in GoogleDocs or OneDrive or something similar.

    Suzanne Stauffer
    Associate Professor
    Louisiana State University

  • 7.  RE: Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 07, 2019 08:51 AM
    Good Morning, Mariel,
    I can speak to your third question. The free web building site Weebly ( is good. It is fairly easy to use and creates a clean and professional looking site. I built several websites and portfolios with Weebly while in library school.

    Amy Currier
    Library Assistant - Cataloging
    Utah Valley University: Fulton Library

  • 8.  RE: Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 08, 2019 06:30 PM
    Love your question.

    I would be curious if anyone in the ALA community has examples of blogs or portfolios that they love (to draw inspiration from)? E.g. --

    I do think it's important to have a portfolio. I'm a children's librarian in a public library also, and a recent Syracuse MLIS (shout-out to Lillian who also replied). I myself have been wondering how best to do a portfolio. I came from a digital media and design background, where a portfolio was the norm - but now I'm trying to figure out how to redesign and revamp it for this new phase of my career.

    I have been using Wordpress; first (hosting included but less ability to add custom code) then (hosting through Bluehost). I bought a domain name in both cases, usually through a site like GoDaddy.

    You can also do a free site through Wordpress but then is in your website link.

    I think Jbrary is a great example of what children's librarians can do with a web presence (but it's more blog than portfolio). You can grow your own professional brand and network, and potentially create a rich platform for sharing and exchanging ideas with other children's librarians. It is a huge asset to tracking your professional development.

    Samantha Mairson
    Children's Librarian / Webinar Coordinator
    Rye Free Reading Room / EveryLibrary

  • 9.  RE: Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 08, 2019 06:42 PM
    I used to have one. I maintained and updated it for ~5 years? 2008-2013 or something like that?

    According to my webhost stats the pages of the portfolio beyond the landing page and the About me page were seldom visited. Like 0-2 visits a month.

    It came up in Google results for my name and it was linked from the header of my resume and my social media pages...

    I finally decided to take it down for this reason. It was a lot of work to maintain for something no one seemed to be looking at.


    Erica Findley
    Systems & Metadata Librarian
    Multnomah County Library 
    Isom Operations Center
    My schedule: Monday-Friday 8:00 am-5:00 pm
    My pronouns are she/her/hers

  • 10.  RE: Online Portfolio, Yes or No?

    Posted Oct 11, 2019 04:45 PM
    If you are planning to do some writing - maintaining a professional blog, book reviews, etc. - on your website, you could create an area for a portfolio to share examples of programming that you've created, storytime set lists, craft templates you've designed, etc. I write about games on my website and use games for educational purposes at the library, so my website, To Play is Human, includes areas on both games and books. I include storytime resources, examples of book reviews that I've written, plans for programming, as well as gaming resources, etc. My website is available as a resource to anyone who finds it helpful and it also serves as a house for my body of work should I ever need to submit it for anything.

    You can create free websites on Wordpress, as well as some of the other options already mentioned by others in this thread.

    Rebecca Strang
    Children's Services Associate
    Naperville Public Library