What Do Librarians Do These Days? (Part II-Resource & Collection Development)

Textile Museum Library

Textile Musuem Library

Resource and collection development competencies start with a foundational understanding of the philosophy of reference service.  This includes the legal and ethical responsibilities by members of the profession relevant to the provision of information. Due to the wide variety of settings where librarians and information professionals may practice, the philosophy also explores an understanding of the economic, political, cultural, and social importance of the information profession, which may not always be in sync with the workplace values. 

The American Library Association’s (ALA) code of ethical conduct: http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/statementspols/codeofethics/codeethics.cfm

 The Library Bill of Rights from ALA:
http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/librarybill/index.cfm

 The Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP) has a code of ethics:  http://www.aiip.org/CodeOfEthics 

AIIP also has a Statement of Policy Concerning Intellectual Property Rights  http://www.aiip.org/IntellectualPropertyPolicy

American Society for Information Science and Technology has Professional Guidelines  http://www.asis.org/professionalguidelines.html

Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals also has a Code of Ethics  http://www.scip.org/About/content.cfm?ItemNumber=578&navItemNumber=504  

The expertise for resource and collection development skills involves the ability to evaluate, acquire, organize, disseminate, manage and preserve information.  Evaluation begins with professional standards to determine the fitness of sources to meet particular information needs.  A broad skill set requires familiarity with multiple and emerging formats of information.   User group diversity, due to Internet communication and global population migration patterns, is another labyrinth to navigate.   The complexity for selection  decisions reaches beyond format and subject matter, but also must  incorporate multidimensional issues such as ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and geographic diversity.  Resources must serve information seekers in a global society.   

The proliferation of both print and electronic sources requires demonstrated proficiency in retrieving all formats of information, starting with the ability to design basic search strategies.  Not only are these skills required for using information technologies, but the ability to articulate this process to users is equally essential.  Information retrieval incorporates evaluation, synthesis, interpretation and application skills. Writing and presentation skills are critical for information delivery as well as facilitating information management.  

An external awareness of economic, political and social trends is necessary for anticipating current and future user needs.  A large measure of curiosity, dedication to professional growth, drive for continuous learning, and  desire to apply new knowledge to improve information systems and services is critical for information professionals in such a fast paced society.

 Information resource management encompasses de-selection in a cost effective manner, along with establishing and maintaining storage, preservation and conservation plans.   Disaster planning, working with archival standards, managing circulation and determining access control are also possible responsibilities.  Electronic resource management includes  contract negotiation, contractual compliance,  technological support, and a current  understanding of intellectual property, digital rights, copyright, licensing and intellectual freedom.

Library and information service staff must successfully communication across the organization and be skilled in articulating the role information services plays in terms of institutional value.  Managers must know the principles and methods to effectively assess current and emerging situations or circumstances.  Organizational knowledge is vital for successful design, implementation and development of appropriate resources.  Leadership and negotiation skills help develop effective policies and procedures for the provision of services. This also requires a strong aptitude for marketing, public relations and library promotion in a time of information overload and stretched economic resources.

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