Soft skills for librarian


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Library Communication

Published in: Education

Soft skills for librarian

  1. 1. Soft Skills for the 21st Century Librarian By Dheeraj Singh Negi
  2. 2. Introduction • Today’s librarians having professional degrees in library and information science is not sufficient unlike in the past. There is demand for librarians having multidimensional aptitude in the areas of technical work, administrative work and also in providing user oriented services along with soft skills. Like any other profession, the soft skills are required in day-to-day working for carrying out routine jobs more effectively. The librarians working in large organizations like corporate offices are already practicing these skills through by experience or training.
  3. 3. • Listening skills: The library professionals must have good listening skills as he/she has to interact with different types of users all the time. By carefully listening to users’ he/she can identify the exact requirement and then provide the service accordingly.
  4. 4. • Communications skills: Command on language especially English and also regional one will improve the communication. Good communication skills also require understanding people, self-confidence. With this one can achieve lot and solve problems too.
  5. 5. • Interpersonal skills: Librarians have to deal with all levels of people like Management, users, colleagues in library, vendors etc. To deal with each one on them in rightful manner requires interpersonal skills. When you work in large organization, it is most important to build rapport with all departments, which helps in managing the library and providing better services to every one.
  6. 6. • Public relations: One needs to use PR very effectively to attract users in libraries through various ways. It also helps to bond with users and vendors too. Also gives ability to work with other professionals.
  7. 7. • Customer service: Customer is library user and to satisfy his information needs is customer service. The librarians are always giving attention to their users and providing services through CAS, SDI or other specialized services. The customer service emphasizes the customer satisfaction, which guarantees that user will always come back to library.
  8. 8. • Leadership skills & Teamwork: Library management especially the big library is team exercise. Hence it is required to have leadership skills to manage and guiding the team time to time, as every subordinate is important for carrying out their work efficiently for smooth running of library.
  9. 9. • Negotiating skills: These skills are required on special occasions such as handling bulk purchases, specialized databases subscription with vendors etc. Also some times in delicate situations like library committee meetings or avoiding undue requirements from arrogant users etc.
  10. 10. • Writing skills: The librarians are sometimes asked to submit/help in writing research proposal/ business proposal/project report, which requires good writing skills. Today there are many library professionals who are contributing to various publications even in- house or even by blogging for sharing their experiences and helping users.
  11. 11. • Project management skills: In corporate sector many times, librarians are part of some project team and assigned specialized jobs such as knowledge management or digital institutional repository. These require dedication, understanding of the project, time management for completion of work, teamwork and reporting back the results etc.
  12. 12. • Presentation skills: The presentation skills are required in report writing, library committee meetings and even in daily work which represents the library management overall for users. It not only emphasizes the individual skills but also from library presentation by means of its decoration, users guides, and library ambience.
  13. 13. • Teaching skills: This is essential for new user orientations or in case new service is introduced such as online database searching. It also includes motivating reading habits in users.
  14. 14. Leadership and Management Skills • Leadership – influencing and motivating others to strive for excellence; able to adapt to a variety of working/learning styles, scenarios and organizational cultures and to lead change within the organization • Financial management – understanding the principles of planning and budgeting in academic libraries • Human resources management – understanding the principles of effective personnel practices and human resource development • Services and resources development – understanding how to assess the need for and to plan and implement new services and/or resources in light of current and anticipated needs
  15. 15. • Risk management – understanding the advantages and disadvantages of any action or decision and being able to effectively evaluate both to support any decision made • Project management – planning, organizing and managing resources to successfully complete specific project objectives within a certain time frame • Assessment and Evaluation – understanding the concepts and methods for service, resource and project evaluation and outcomes assessment • Partnerships & Collaborations – understanding the reasons and strategies for developing collaborations and partnerships with stakeholders and relevant communities
  16. 16. Collections Development Skill • Scholarly publishing cycle – understanding the life cycle of scholarly publishing, from creation through various stages of use to disposition • Collections development and management – understanding the concepts, issues and methods related to the acquisition, and disposition of resources, including knowing collection strengths and library and institutional goals and objectives for resource development
  17. 17. • Digital curation– understanding best practices for the selection, collection, preservation, description, organization, and archiving principles for digital documentation and research data in various formats • Digital preservation – understanding of the principles, activities, policies, procedures, and services for persistent access • Management and preservation of collections – basic understanding of the management and preservation methods for general collections and for rare books and archives • Records management – understanding how information is organized for easy identification and retrieval, including cataloguing and metadata standards for all formats.
  18. 18. Information Literacy • librarians should have a strong understanding of, and commitment to, the following: • Information literacy – principles of information literacy in the academic environment, including numerical and data literacy • Learning and teaching – knowledge of learning models and strategies as well as relevant teaching pedagogy and models for the academic environment • Institutional teaching and learning – knowledge of institutional teaching and learning programmes and goals to effectively connect with stakeholders and integrate information literacy programs as appropriate
  19. 19. Research & Contributions to the Profession Skills • Research and publication – contributions through writing, editing, refereeing or reviewing of books, articles or reports • Conferences – contributions through presentations to professional or scholarly associations/meetings • Formal study – taken to broaden subject or professional knowledge and may include study for advanced professional and/or related academic qualifications • Teaching – teaching courses in areas of librarianship, archives or other academic disciplines
  20. 20. • Conference management – planning, organizing or conducting professional programs, workshops, seminars or conferences • Professional Associations – active participation in professional associations which may include holding executive office, serving on committees, etc. • Active engagement in community initiatives – especially those associated with their area of professional or subject expertise • Staying informed – ability to stay abreast of research in a specific area to support a research agenda or to support other work as a librarian within the library • Research models and methods – knowledge of the fundamentals of qualitative and quantitative research methods including the research process (e.g. question formulation, peer review, etc.) • Grant writing – knowledge and pursuit of avenues available for grants to facilitate research work
  21. 21. Information Technology Skills • librarians should have strong knowledge and capability in the following: • Integrated library systems (ILS) – knowledge of basic structure, content and use of an integrated library system • Emerging web technology – knowledge of major trends in web development including online social networking tools (as of 2010, would include Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) • Electronic resources management – knowledge of how digital resources are acquired, managed and accessed
  22. 22. • Web page development – understanding of principles of web page design and maintenance • Institutional repositories – Understanding the basic structure, content and use of campus institutional repositories • Learning management system (LMS / CMS) – knowledge of the structure and the use of campus LMS / CMS • Database management – understanding how databases are designed and structured for convenient data and/or information retrieval