As innovation continues to advance in the library and information science sector, what skills are important for librarians to succeed? We recently asked this question of attendees at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.
*Participants polled comprised mostly of librarians, a handful of faculty members, directors and editors who attended IFLA WLIC 2018, the leading global library confex that saw thousands of delegates from the library and information service community.
Soft skills in demand with Librarians
“Advocacy for libraries and librarians.”
Surprisingly, despite technological disruptions throughout the industry, soft skills topped the list at a staggering 43% when attendees were asked which skills they would like to improve on.
In an age where library users are turning to self-sourced e-resources and e-learning tools, Reshma Dangol, Library Director at SAARC Secretariat, believes that learning to advocate for your library’s worth is particularly integral for librarians to succeed.
Zahra Aljunied, Senior Librarian at National Library Board, Singapore, specified “Soft skills like listening, understanding, empathy.”
It seems that at the end of the day, librarians value providing a personal touch in their service, whether it’s librarians working to understand the pains of library users, change management, multitasking or simply cultivating a healthy dose of curiosity and adaptability.
Participants sharing their thoughts on what skills are important for Librarians in the changing landscape.
Taking Digital Steps Forward
Predictably, technological skills came in second in importance, at 36%. With a sizeable number citing “skills to take advantage of AI and other algorithm-based innovations” as key to serving their customers better.
Hand in hand with the need for upgraded technological knowledge and skills, librarians saw a gap in their data management skillsets – 14% of those polled see these skillsets as a critical competence to succeed in the changing landscape.
Caption: Librarians sharing their views via our live Twitter wall.
Helping Librarians Create Libraries of the Future
As Neemat Abdulrahim, Deputy Director, Head of City Library, Abuja, puts it, “I see the future of the library as all encompassing – from being an information hub, innovative services, community engagement, to cultural hub.”
It is a challenge for librarians to meet these ever changing and evolving needs of users and adapt to volatile industry trends. How can librarians meet these demands to create a “Library of the Future”?
There are several e-platforms available to help librarians enhance the learning experience in libraries.
For instance, rare archive collections are no longer confined to the physical library. With Wiley Digital Archives, librarians can provide their researchers with digital access to rare primary historical archives to add value to the research experience. The value of rare archive collections in a researcher's work can mean the difference between an excellent or mediocre paper and librarians can contribute to their institution's research quality by \adding this service.
Librarians at IFLA WLIC 2018 understanding how Wiley Digital Archives and Wiley Researcher Academy can enhance the learning experience in libraries.
What do you think are critical skills for librarians to succeed in the changing landscape? Share with us your comments below!
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