Libraries

A Librarian with a Very Particular Set of Skills

But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. ~ Memorable Quotes from Unmemorable Movies

I know. The full quote doesn’t work in this context. What skills do librarians have that would make them nightmares for people? And, who would those people be? Agents of chaos and misinformation, undoubtably. But, when I think of skills, I think of Liam Neeson in Taken. I wish I didn’t, but there you have it.

Anyways, skills. Wednesday, I wrote a post querying librarians as to what skills librarians need. As libraries evolve, the librarians who make up the heart of libraries are evolving too. To quickly look at the results I made a word-cloud. Not very original or scientific, but it works.

Library-skills-wordcloud

Do you see your library skills represented?

The patterns that emerge are skills related to interpersonal abilities, technology, research, project management, teaching and learning, and adaptability. For those who work in libraries, this may not seem surprising. Librarians are service-oriented and libraries have been early adopters of technology and automation. What may stand out to non-librarians is the frequency of project management. My own experience was in digital library development and serving on inter-departmental committees, so project management was the norm. The other key notion is that of flexibility and learning. Roles change and organizations grow and evolve. Librarians who are resistant to change may find it difficult or disquieting to maintain their identity in a changing landscape.

My questions to you are the following. As a librarian or non-librarian, do any of these skills seem surprising? Are there skills which are not represented? Most importantly, are students in ALA-accredited Master’s programs graduating with these skills?

One Comment

Leave a Reply