Library Science

Taken from the American Library Association’s Core Competences of Librarianship: View the pdf file

The document defines basic knowledge for someone acquiring an MLIS degree; some librarians working in particular contexts may require specialized knowledge beyond what is listed below.

Competency Area Components of Competency Area
1. Foundations of the Profession 1A. Ethics, values, and foundational principles of the library and information profession;
1B. Role of library and information professionals in the promotion of democratic principles and intellectual freedom;
1C. History of libraries and librarianship;
1D. History of human communication and its impact on libraries;
1E. Current types of libraries and closely related information agencies;
1F. National and international social, public, information, economic, and cultural policies and trends of significance to the library and information profession;
1G. Legal framework within which libraries and information agencies operate (copyright, privacy, freedom of expression, equal rights, and intellectual property);
1H. Importance of effective advocacy for libraries, librarians, other library workers, and library services;
1I. Techniques used to analyze complex problems and create appropriate solutions;
1J. Effective communication techniques (verbal and written);
1K. Certification and/or licensure requirements of specialized areas of the profession.
2. Information Resources 2A. Concepts and issues related to the lifecycle of recorded knowledge and information, from creation through various stages of use to disposition;
2B. Concepts, issues, and methods related to the acquisition and disposition of resources, including evaluation, selection, purchasing, processing, storing, and de-selection;
2C. Concepts, issues, and methods related to the management of various collections;
2D. Concepts, issues, and methods related to the maintenance of collections, including preservation and conservation.
3. Organization of Recorded Knowledge and Information 3A. Principles involved in the organization and representation of recorded knowledge and information;
3B. Developmental, descriptive, and evaluative skills needed to organize recorded knowledge and information resources;
3C. Systems of cataloging, metadata, indexing, and classification standards and methods used to organize recorded knowledge and information.
4. Technological Knowledge and Skills 4A. Information, communication, assistive, and related technologies as they affect the resources, service delivery, and uses of libraries and other information agencies;
4B. Application of information, communication, assistive, and related technology and tools consistent with professional ethics and prevailing service norms and applications;
4C. Methods of assessing and evaluating the specifications, efficacy, and cost efficiency of technology-based products and services;
4D. Principles and techniques necessary to identify and analyze emerging technologies and innovations in order to recognize and implement relevant technological improvements.
5. Reference and User Services 5A. Concepts, principles, and techniques of reference and user services that provide access to relevant and accurate recorded knowledge and information to individuals of all ages and groups;
5B. Techniques used to retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize information from diverse sources for use by individuals of all ages and groups;
5C. Methods used to interact successfully with individuals of all ages and groups to provide consultation, mediation, and guidance in their use of recorded knowledge and information;
5D. Information literacy/information competence techniques and methods, numerical literacy, and statistical literacy;
5E. Principles and methods of advocacy used to reach specific audiences to promote and explain concepts and services;
5F. Principles of assessment and response to diversity in user needs, user communities, and user preferences;
5G. Principles and methods used to assess the impact of current and emerging situations or circumstances on the design and implementation of appropriate services or resource development.
6. Research 6A. Fundamentals of quantitative and qualitative research methods;
6B. Central research findings and research literature of the field;
6C. Principles and methods used to assess the actual and potential value of new research.
7. Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning 7A. Necessity of continuing professional development of practitioners in libraries and other information agencies;
7B. Role of the library in the lifelong learning of patrons;
7C. Learning theories, instructional methods, and achievement measures; and their application in libraries and other information agencies;
7D. Principles related to the teaching and learning of concepts, processes, and skills used in seeking, evaluating, and using recorded knowledge and information.
8. Administration and Management 8A. Principles of planning and budgeting in libraries and other information agencies;
8B. Principles of effective personnel practices and human resource development;
8C. Concepts behind, and methods for, assessment and evaluation of library services and their outcomes;
8D. Concepts behind, and methods for, developing partnerships, collaborations, networks, and other structures with all stakeholders and within communities served;
8E. Concepts behind, issues relating to, and methods for, principled, transformational leadership.

Other potentially useful competency guidelines include:

Music Library Association:

Reference and User Services Association:

Special Libraries Association: