Competency Index

About the Competency Index

Library Field. The BC Libraries Staff Competencies Training Matrix and Index are online tools designed with the following two objectives.

1. To facilitate access to, and usability of the Competency Training Matrix for the Library Field.

With this online tool, employees, supervisors and hiring managers have access to the Competency Index in a format that allows for greater ease in navigating categories, competencies and skills.

The competency families are divided into categories for easier navigation:

1. Essential Library core
2. Library Management
3. Collections
4. Core + Public Services
5. Technology

Within each competency category, areas of expertise are identified and broken into competencies and skills with resources that aim to improve areas with provided resources.

Category –> Competencies –> Skills –> Resources

IE: Essential Library Core[Category]
–> Core Tech [Comp]
–> Web Technologies [Specific Comp with list of skills/tasks]
–> Evaluate Needs [Resource]


2. To assist employees in using competencies for self-development activities and for library directors/senior staff in using competencies for staff recruitment, selection and development.

The BC Libraries Staff Competency Training Matrix matches competencies with available training opportunities. Staff members can use the Competency Training Matrix for the development and achievement of personal learning plans. Competencies can also be applied to recruitment, selection and development activities.

It is important to note that not all competencies will be cultivated via traditional “training” approaches. Certain competencies are best and more economically addressed through online tutorials, procedures manuals, job aids, checklists, on-the-job training and other methods identified for relaying information needed for maximum performance.

Note: The BC Libraries Staff Competency Training Matrix is not a static document and will require updating as library jobs change. The intention is for this tool to be reviewed on a regular basis by the sponsoring BC library federations and their library partners.

*Competencies are defined as the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary for successful individual job performance and the successful achievement of organizational outcomes. A competencies approach to performance management … links individual performance to organizational goals and strategies.


The Competencies


Essential Library Core Competencies


These competencies are the underpinning of all of the other sections of the Competency Training Matrix. Core technology skills and strong interpersonal skills are fundamental for everyone who works in a library in any position. Librarians and library staff who possess all of these qualities will build a vibrant and relevant library.

Core Technology
Now that technology has permeated all levels of the library’s operations and services, every position requires some level of comfort with computers. This section defines core technology competencies that all staff need in order to contribute to the overall effectiveness of the organization. Success in this area, however, depends less upon what you know right now and more upon ongoing learning.

Core Personal/Interpersonal
In most situations in life, your effectiveness is enhanced by clear communication, strong relationships, ethical behaviour and the flexibility to be a leader, team player and lifelong learner.


Library Collection Competencies


Library collections exist to meet the diverse lifelong learning needs of their users and communities. Laws and policies guide practice. Efficient workflows and practices help provide organized and expedient access to users

Acquisition and Processing
After materials are selected, they are acquired and processed. The goal is to provide responsive and proactive service to users through timely and efficient processing.

Cataloging
The efforts of catalogers enable users to locate what they need in the library collections. As the world of information evolved from physical materials occupying physical places to digital resources in a multiplicity of formats, catalogers have adapted with richer metadata sets, linking repositories and institutions, and delivering resources in-person and remotely.

Collection Development and Management
A library’s collection of materials is never static. Collection development librarians not only select and deselect materials for the collection, but also develop and implement policies and procedures and ensure that staff are trained on their proper execution

Digital Resources Technology
With so many of a library’s resources in digital format, especially in large library systems, a host of new skills and knowledge emerge for creating or selecting, organizing, managing and providing access to these digital resources. It’s an interdepartmental effort within the library, involving cataloging, preservation, systems and technology.

E-Resource Management
Electronic resources now command a significant portion of a library’s collections budget in addition to the staff time to manage them. The management of e-resources introduces new challenges in terms of license agreements, “ownership,” budget priorities, distribution, access and more.

Preservation
Preservation covers a wide range of activities: repairing the physical damage to well-used materials; transforming physical materials into digital format; or archiving the historic record in its physical and digital forms.


Library Management Competencies


Library collections exist to meet the diverse lifelong learning needs of their users and communities. Laws and policies guide practice. Efficient workflows and practices help provide organized and expedient access to users.

Community Relations
Library directors and leaders demonstrate the value of the library and its services to the community. They form strategic relationships to increase awareness, maximize impact and communicate the need for ongoing support.

Facilities
As physical collections shift to increased digital availability, libraries are creatively seizing opportunities to rethink the use of their physical space. Facilities are being modified to reflect and serve the learning, collaboration and creation needs of community members.

Financial Management
Competition for resources within a community makes it important for library directors and leaders to not only be ethical stewards of resources, but also active communicators about the value of library services and impact in the community.

Laws, Policies and Procedures
Well-written policies and procedures, based on sound legal footings, help all levels of staff be consistent in their relationships with users, colleagues and other stakeholders.

Marketing and Public Relations
Library marketing focuses on engaging with library users, potential users and other stakeholders. Marketing efforts do not come from a single department; they need to be organization-wide.

Organizational Leadership
Library directors and leaders help everyone understand the vision of the library and the connection to community needs. Leadership empowers staff and encourages collaboration and learning.

Personnel Management
Staff are the most important resource for achieving the library’s mission and goals. From hiring to training and providing feedback, support for learning and innovation needs to be communicated.

Project Management
Effective project management involves managing people, resources and time. Leaders recognize that communication is essential throughout the project life cycles.

Staff Training and Development
Helping patrons and community members develop 21st century skills requires staff with 21st century skills of their own. Creating an overall organizational culture that fosters learning and innovation requires administrative support and prioritization. Technically, this is a subset of Personnel (HR) Management, but it is called out separately due to the primary focus that WebJunction places on this set of competencies.

Strategic Planning
Collaborative and deliberate planning helps ensure that library services are responsive to community needs.

Trustees, Friends and Foundations
The Library Board (Trustees) plays a critical role in the governance of the library. Friends of the Library and Library Foundations provide vital support of the library, raising money and solidifying community relations. The library director and leaders need to collaborate effectively with these groups.


Core + Public Service Competencies


All of the services that interface directly with the library’s users come together under the heading of public services. These frontline staff anticipate and meet the needs of users in the most visible way. Fully supported by all of the other sectors and departments, they work to provide the best possible programs and services to the library community


Core Public Service Competencies

Core Circulation Services
Circulation and interlibrary loan are like the circulatory system of the library body—keeping materials flowing in, out and around in a well-regulated manner, striving to deliver the right item at the right time.

Core Patron Training
Depending on the size of library, there may be management positions or whole departments responsible for fostering patron learning. In some libraries, volunteers may be leading patron training. No matter where the responsibility resides, patron training and the advancement of 21st century literacy skills are crucial ways in which the library serves its community.

Core Public Access Technology
Computers for public use are among the main attractions that bring people into the library. Public computing has come a long way since its introduction in the mid-1990s. Progress has entailed increasing demands on the library to determine policies and on library staff to assist users with a variety of devices and software programs.


Public Service Competencies
Adult and Older Adult Services

Libraries have the capacity to inspire, engage and support community members of all ages. Libraries provide an array of opportunities for adult patrons from diverse backgrounds.

Children’s Services
Libraries help support the learning needs of young children and their families, schools and caregivers. Libraries and librarians can contribute to a child’s lifetime success. (Note that these competencies build on the general adult competencies and other public services. Statements are included here only if they have a specific application to children.)

Circulation Services

Circulation and interlibrary loan are like the circulatory system of the library body—keeping materials flowing in, out and around in a well-regulated manner, striving to deliver the right item at the right time.

Patron Training

Depending on the size of library, there may be management positions or whole departments responsible for fostering patron learning. In some libraries, volunteers may be leading patron training. No matter where the responsibility resides, patron training and the advancement of 21st century literacy skills are crucial ways in which the library serves its community.

Public Access Technology

Computers for public use are among the main attractions that bring people into the library. Public computing has come a long way since its introduction in the mid-1990s. Progress has entailed increasing demands on the library to determine policies and on library staff to assist users with a variety of devices and software programs.

Young Adult Services
Libraries and librarians can engage and empower young adults, providing opportunities for learning and growth. Spaces and resources are important, but staff who value and encourage young adults are key.

(Note that these competencies build on the general adult competencies and other public services. Statements are included here only if they have a specific application to the young adult population.)


Technology, Systems & IT Competencies


Technology is now ubiquitous in libraries and IT intersects with all
departments. Depending on the size and type of library, there may be strict divisions between the responsibilities of IT staff and other library staff, or the line may be more indistinct as it is for “accidental” systems librarians in small libraries. Certain IT functions may be handled by consultants, too. Find the right combination of competencies from this compilation to meet the needs of your library.

Many aspects of Systems and IT involve coordinated efforts with management. See the Library Management Competencies set for technology planning, technology policies, project management, budgeting and organizational leadership skills.

All IT
As technology increasingly infuses the library environment, clarity of communication between IT experts and all library staff is as important as sound management of technology projects. The ability to explain complex ideas and to listen carefully to users underlies effectiveness in all other systems and IT work.

Automation SystemS
Providing administration and support of the library automation system (ILS) and understanding the dependencies and workflows among systems are critical to maintaining a functional computing environment.

Enterprise Computing
Many large libraries operate at the enterprise level of computing—a level of complexity introduced by the need to integrate multiple computer systems (including legacy systems) and networks, and to accommodate access by a variety of remote users.

Hardware
Every position in the library depends on the proper installation and reliable functioning of all of the computer equipment. Hardware may include not only PCs, but also Macs, tablets, training lab equipment, digital creation lab equipment and more.

Networking and Security
The network is the electronic nerve centre of the library’s operations and its intricacy increases with every new technology and new security threat. Keeping the network running smoothly is increasingly important as our dependence on connectivity grows.

Operating Systems
Providing administration and support of the operating systems on the library computers and understanding the dependencies and workflows among systems are critical to maintaining a functional computing environment.

Public Access Technology Systems
IT works closely with the public services department to support technology that is available for use by the public. This includes computers, peripherals, the wireless network and more. Providing public access technology creates unique needs for the set-up of the hardware, software, networks and security.

(See also: Public Services > Public Access Technology for competencies for basic troubleshooting and patron assistance.)

Server Administration
The complexity of computer networks breeds an increasing array of servers to deliver particular services to users. It may be necessary to select, configure and/or maintain any of a variety of server types appropriate to the library’s needs.

Software Applications
Different positions in the library require varying levels of proficiency with software applications, depending on which tasks need to be accomplished. IT ensures that software is properly installed, licensed and ready to run when a user needs it.

(Note: Many beginner-level technology competencies are in the Core Competency set.)

Technology Planning
Technology planning is closely tied to the library’s overall strategic plans. Thoughtful planning ensures that decisions are based upon a solid understanding of community needs.

Web Design and Development
A library’s website is a virtual branch, providing access to services, resources and programming. Website development teams plan, develop and maintain the website in collaboration with many other departments, including Marketing, Reference, Readers’ Advisory and more.