Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#SLA2014 : SLA Compentencies Task Force

Overview by Kim Dority:

The last iteration of the competencies were released in 2003 and were aspirational.  Work began by the Task Force in 2012 with looking at what other associations had done.  They also researched what was going on in the world of information and its use.

As corporate libraries closed, some corporate librarians moved into different roles in their organizations.  In other words, those organizations retained their greatest library asset - the person.  People began "integrated librarians."

The goal is to make the competencies relevant for a person's entire career.  They are the competencies that people need to survive in the field.  

We have been used to being in a service mode as librarians.  That no longer is what we need to be doing.  We need to gather information, analyze it, and draw conclusions from it.  We need to be confident in our skills to do this type of work. Thus we need to also have person competences around how we do our work.

What they discovered through their research:

What will we do?
  • Collaboration
  • Decision support
  • Data analysis
  • How to shape questions
Where will we do it?
  • Embedded
  • Integrated
  • Included in strategy debriefing meetings
  • Visualizations
  • need to be part of the decision
  • Evaluating conclusions
  • Combining information and analytical skills
  • Not just information delivery
  • Will need to understand our organizations and their competitive landscape 
Comments by members of the Task Force:

Anne Caputo - when we graduated by library school in California (mid 1970s), there were no library jobs in California.  She interviewed at Lockheed/Dialog and became one of their early employees.  While she didn't know about computers and Boolean logic, she had been a teacher and had been a SILS member of her high school debate team.  What she brought to the job was personal competencies and that is why they hired here.

Chris Vestal - He began coming to the conference while he was still a student, and has been to every conference since then.  Because he work was the same everyday, he has volunteered heavily with SLA.  At work, he has gotten into the habit of doing more in depth reference interviews in order to better understand what his patent examiners need.  Again, personal competencies have been important to him.

Nancy Gershenfeld - As part of a information school, she noted that iSchools are user-centric. They prepare information leaders.  Because of the library market in Seattle, students are instead going into industry.  In conducting focus groups and SWOT analyses, people have said that they need graduates to hit the ground running and to come with skills that existing employees don't have.  Graduates need to be able to tell employers what needs to be done, i.e., to be leaders.  They need to be able to run projects.  They modified their curriculum based on what they heard, which includes a capstone project.  She believes that they have a better balance between theory and practice.  Project management is important.  

From the Q&A:

In response to Mary Ellen Bates question about those that are being attracted to the profession, Caputo said that she believes that when people are admitted to a library science program, they need to be given a realistic expectation.  

Gershenfeld noted that the model of what librarians do in traditional libraries in changing.  Many of the traditional jobs are going to paraprofessionals (paralibrarians).  Those that have traditional jobs have jobs that are changing. The challenge is to go out and recruit the people that fit the model of the librarian of the future.  

Dority teaches a class on alternative career paths for librarians.  Students often don't know what else they can do with their degree.  We need to let people know what jobs are available that are non-traditional.  Information on special library careers needs to be more widely available.

What is the differientator between hiring a librarian and hiring an MBA, for example?  Is our domain represented in the competetencies?

At NIH, librarians run a service to help researchers get published.  As professionals, we cannot be afraid to write.  We need to continue to write after grad school and continue to get better at it.

Librarians see the red thread that weaves through the fabric of information. - quoted by David Shumaker.  Originally said by someone at  UCLA.

How should the competencies be communicated? Toolkit, personas, information on how to create depth in a competency, examples of competency-based resumes, link our conference programs to the competencies....

  • "The Difference" by Scott Page
  • Kim Dority's book, Rethinking Information Work
  • David Shumaker's writings on embedded librarianship

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