What Do Librarians Do These Days? (Part I – Professional Identity)

Book mural at Rehoboth Beach

Book mural at Rehoboth Beach

Competencies provide a measure of skill, knowledge and ability assessment integrated into the School of Library and Information Science at a program level and then broken out into specifics for each course.  In academia it provides a framework for the curriculum and measurable learning outcomes. From my perspective, it’s the assets I bring to an employer.  It is also the very complex answer to “what do librarians do these days?” 

From the broad prospective, the competencies include: 

  • Information Organization;
  • Management;
  • Professional Identity;
  • Resource And Collection Development;
  • Technology;
  • User services.

Starting with the professional identity grounds the theory for all the other competency areas.  Librarians have a long established history for taking leadership in society as the defender of information and the importance of preserving it for cultural heritage.  Advocates for open access to information have professionally established values, principles, legal and ethical responsibilities they bring to the work environment.  Librarians have an enduring sense of commitment to advance the knowledge of individual users and collectively to better humanity, particularly important for a democratic form of government to thrive. 

 Several professional associations provide a code of conduct to cover the field of library and information science.  The American Library Association is probably best known and represents the members most visible to the public through public libraries, school libraries and academic libraries. American Library Association (ALA) Core Competences of Librarianship, approved by ALA’s Presidential Task Force on Library Education, May 2008 


 The Special Library Association combines common goals, problem solving and innovation between organizations such as museums, federal libraries, hospitals, law, universities, research, news, and more.  Special Libraries Association (SLA) http://www.sla.org/content/learn/comp2003/index.cfm

 These are additional specialized professional library associations and organizations that bring professionals together for continual learning, mentoring and career development.

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