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Using core competencies to market cataloging expertise (and get stuff done)

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Using Core Competencies to
Market Cataloging Expertise
(and Get Stuff Done)
Jennifer A. Liss
@cursedstorm
#INlibraries17

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Presentation Abstract 2
The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of
the American L...

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“Them: So, what do you do for a living?
Me: I’m a cataloger librarian.
Them: Oh, so you ____
» … shelve books.
» … read bo...

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Using core competencies to market cataloging expertise (and get stuff done)

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The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association, endorsed the document "Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Professional Librarians" in March 2017. Whether you are a supervisor, a full-time cataloger, or someone who catalogs only under duress, core competencies can help you draw a direct correlation between quality cataloging and superior service. In this interactive session, participants will learn what core competencies are, how to use them in strategic planning and advocacy, and how to write core competencies that are appropriate for their own workplaces.

The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association, endorsed the document "Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Professional Librarians" in March 2017. Whether you are a supervisor, a full-time cataloger, or someone who catalogs only under duress, core competencies can help you draw a direct correlation between quality cataloging and superior service. In this interactive session, participants will learn what core competencies are, how to use them in strategic planning and advocacy, and how to write core competencies that are appropriate for their own workplaces.

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Using core competencies to market cataloging expertise (and get stuff done)

  1. 1. Using Core Competencies to Market Cataloging Expertise (and Get Stuff Done) Jennifer A. Liss @cursedstorm #INlibraries17
  2. 2. Presentation Abstract 2 The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association, endorsed the document "Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Professional Librarians" in March 2017. Whether you are a supervisor, a full-time cataloger, or someone who catalogs only under duress, core competencies can help you draw a direct correlation between quality cataloging and superior service. In this interactive session, participants will learn what core competencies are, how to use them in strategic planning and advocacy, and how to write core competencies that are appropriate for their own workplaces.
  3. 3. “Them: So, what do you do for a living? Me: I’m a cataloger librarian. Them: Oh, so you ____ » … shelve books. » … read books all day. 3
  4. 4. 4 You are HERE Writing core competencies Leading with your core competencies Your GOAL
  5. 5. 5 WARNING Do not adjust criteria for making critical business decisions without consulting your human resources expert first.
  6. 6. 6 ABOVE THE ROD Card Catalog (photographer unknown, circa 1969)
  7. 7. JOB TASKS A unit of work or set of activities need to produce a result. 7 Action verb Object of verb Why How
  8. 8. JOB TASKS - card filer 8 Sort cards into the catalog to make resources discoverable using established guidelines Object Why HowAction verb
  9. 9. KSAPs SkillsKnowledge Personal characteristics 9 Abilities
  10. 10. KSAPs - filing cards into the catalog 10 Knowledge Knowledge of filing rules Skill Sorting and ordering skills Ability Sustained attention to detail Personal characteristic Consistency and reliability
  11. 11. To write a competency for a position: 1. List job tasks 2. List KSAPs need to perform job tasks 3. Sort and group similar KSAPs 4. Label KSAP groupings--the label is the competency 11
  12. 12. Competency 12 Member of library staff Simone Robbins (Indiana University Photographic Services, 1954)
  13. 13. 13 Core Competency Test Long-term strategic advantage Gain in customer value Difficult for others to imitate
  14. 14. 14 Leading with your core competencies
  15. 15. DISCUSSION: leading with competencies » Professional organizer » Do processing/preparing work » Sharing info about resources » I do the book part (as opposed to the public/people part) » Help people explore (e.g., related movies, books, non-fiction) » Makes sure hyperlinks work » Solves problems » Researcher/Analyst » Trusted resource (the cataloger & the catalog) » Informed/good judgement (decision making) 15 Cataloger competencies: » Research » Problem solving » Judgement » Troubleshooting » Analytical reasoning » Building trust
  16. 16. For further reading ALCTS. (2011). "Advocacy elevator speeches." Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/alcts/about/advocacy/speeches Cataloging Competencies Task Force. (2017 January). Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Professional Librarians. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11213/7853 Gross, Valerie J. 2013. Transforming our image, building our brand: the education advantage. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited. Prahalad, C.K. and Gary Hamel. (1990). "The Core Competence of the Corporation." Harvard Business Review, 68(3): 79-91. Sanghi, Seema. 2016. The handbook of competency mapping: understanding, designing and implementing competency models in organizations. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. Schmitt, Neal. 2012. The Oxford handbook of personnel assessment and selection. New York: Oxford University Press. 16
  17. 17. Jennifer A. Liss jaliss@indiana.edu 0000-0003-3641-4427 THANK YOU! This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Find slides & handouts: jliss.net 17

Editor's Notes

  • Has anyone had this conversation before? I'm here today because I think competencies can help us talk about what we do in a clear and unambiguous way; they can help us hone in on the traits that will keep libraries competitive in this big, bad neo-capitalistic world we operate in; and, competencies, like professional values, can help ground us and provide us some semblance of stability in the face of rapid change.
  • I will quickly walk through the process for how to write core competencies. The handout will get you well on your way to developing a plan for yourself. If you want to learn more about developing a formal competency framework I've included a list of resources at the end of my slides you'll want to check out. I want to leave plenty of time for a discussion about leading with your core competencies. I've chosen to use the word "leading" here deliberately, because I think people too often equate leadership with being the boss. Those with relatively little power influence organizations all of the time.
  • A word of warning: If you plan to use competencies to inform critical business decisions, especially in the realm of hiring, promotion, or termination, you MUST consult your human resources experts to ensure that your competencies framework is legally defensible. Legal requirements are different for public and private institutions; your human resources personnel can help you navigate the federal, state, and local laws, as well as any collective bargaining agreements that are unique to your institution. Therefore, developing a formal competency framework is time consuming and expensive. I recommend that you approach this as a thought exercise as the takeaways are still valuable.
  • In the era of card catalog technology, the cost of misfiling cards was very high. A misfiled card could mean loss of access or costly duplication. The phrase "above the rod" refers to the practice of having inexperienced card filers sort cards into the catalog by resting the new card on top of the rod that held all of the cards in place; the idea was that a supervisor would review the filer's work before pulling the rod locking new cards into place in the card file.
  • A job task--the stuff to get done--is a unit of work or activities that produce a result. Well written job tasks mean the difference between being able to evaluate whether someone is meeting job expectations or not. Treating job tasks like a grammar puzzle is one way to help combat vague or unobservable job tasks. Job task statements consist of an: Action verb - Object of the verb (who or what is being acted upon) - why the work is done/the expected outcome of the task - how the work is done.
  • Here is a job task, that of filing cards, written out. The "why" portion can be left out of task statements if the task is very simple and no further explanation is needed; however, in more complex tasks, I’ve found that the “why” helps you figure out how to evaluate the performance of the task.
  • KSAPs tell us which traits employees need to perform the job.
  • In our example, being a card filer requires:
    Knowledge of filing rules
    Possession of sorting and ordering skills
    Ability to sustain attention to detail
    Consistency and reliability (personal characteristics)
  • Sanghi 2016.
  • So--how do competencies help us influence and advocate?
  • Prahalad and Hamel in their 1990 Harvard Business Review article tells us that core competencies have three characteristics:
    1) they have a long-term strategic advantage
    2) they result in measurable gains in customer value, and
    3) they are difficult for others to imitate.
  • Think about the kinds of things that catalogers do. What library services or functions DON'T happen when catalogers aren't doing that work? Those things are likely connected in some way to cataloging core competencies.
  • Session participants brainstormed the ways in which they described their work on the left. After the session, I distilled these statements into competency labels on the right. Competency labels taken from Sanghi (2016), Chapter 10: Generic Competencies.
  • Knowing your job competencies means being able to lead with your strengths, see you how your work fits into the environment you work within, and helps you formulate those elevator speeches about the value of cataloging. Thank you!

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