Library Support Staff Certification Program (LSSCP) Resources


General Information

The Library Support Staff Certification Program (LSSCP) is a national, voluntary program. It was developed by ALA-APA, the American Library Association and the Allied Professional Association, and began on January, 2010, with a field-test period in the autumn of 2009. The goal of the program is “to help the profession standardize expectations for LSS, help the large number of LSS master critical job Competency Sets; provide educators with guidance for training curriculums; and help employers articulate job requirements.”

LSSCP works by defining broad areas of skills, called “competency sets.”  There’s a core set of skills and an elective set of skills.  All successful candidates must show mastery of the core set, then complete three additional competencies from the elective set.  (Links are to the LSSCP website.)

Required Competencies:

  •  Foundations of Library Services
  • Communication and Teamwork
  • Technology

Elective Competencies:

  • Access Services
  • Adult Readers Advisory Services
  • Cataloguing and Classification
  • Collection Management
  • Reference and Information Services
  • Supervision and Management
  • Youth Services

Two Ways to Show Competence
Candidates can show mastery of competencies either by passing approved classes, or by developing an online portfolio that shows mastery of specific skills.  Portfolio development suggestions are currently being worked on.  Either one will satisfy the requirement.  Creative approaches to proving mastery are encouraged.  If you don’t want to take the recommended suggestions, you can choose your own methods to demonstrate your skills.

Who Can Apply to the LSSCP?
To participate in the LSSCP, library support staff applicants must have a total of 1,820 hours of library experience, paid or unpaid, within the last five years in any type of library. Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applications from LSS whose education is outside the US will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The cost to enter the LSSCP is $350 ($325 to ALA members).  This does not cover tuition and fees for any approved classes, but does cover your subscription to the online portfolio.  The certificate, once gained, is good for five years, then it must be renewed.  We are assured that it won’t cost as much to renew a certificate. Infromation about costs can be found here

Help With Costs
An anonymous donor has given SSD $1,000 to help five SSD members apply for certification.  The awards pay $200 towards the cost of enrollment.  Visit this page to learn more about SSD Scholarships. In addition, the SSD CE Scholarship can be used for this purpose, or towards a class for certification.  See: for more information.

We’ll let you know if we learn of any more scholarship possibilities.  Don’t give up!

Frequently Asked Questions
How hard is it going to be to get certified?  Make no mistake, this is hard work.  At her presentation at the 2009 SSD Gateways Conference, Project Director Karen Strege estimated that it would take from 6 months to two years to complete the work, and that the two year estimate was more in the norm.  Your certificate will really mean something.

What kind of technology will I need to have access to?  You’ll almost certainly have to have access to a computer, either for classes or for the online portfolio.

I just got a scholarship from SSD.  Can I get one of the new scholarships?  No, SSD scholarships are limited to one award in 18 months.

I’m not an SSD member, but I belong to OLA.  Am I eligible for an SSD LSSCP scholarship?  No, our donor wanted SSD members to get these awards.  It doesn’t cost anything to join SSD, though (we waived our $5 membership fee when the OLA dues went up).

Answers to other FAQs may be found here.

More Information