Academic Librarian Competencies Model (ALCM): recognising skills and identifying gaps

Anna Rubinowski, Romney Adams and Sylvia Pilz, Monash University Library

Concurrent session 23
Thursday 1 September 2016, 2:30pm - 2:55pm




The authors present the Academic Librarian Competencies Model (ALCM) based on the findings of a single-workplace study which explores the approaches and tools Early Career Librarians (ECLs) can utilise to equip themselves with the necessary skills and capabilities to determine their own professional development.

The authors are ECLs, working as members of Monash University Library’s (MUL) Research and Learning team. This team’s mandate is to ensure students develop the required research and academic writing skills for success both while at university, and in the workforce. The library as a professional environment is on the cusp of pivotal change with baby boomer employees approaching retirement age.

With this change comes the threat of a loss of knowledge, with outgoing staff potentially taking skills with them before ECLs have had a chance to recognise and work towards developing these skills for themselves.To address this issue, this paper discusses the adaption of the Work Skill Development (WSD) Framework (Bandaranaike & Willison, 2009), and the Chartered Institution of Library and Information Professionals’ (CILIP) Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) self-assessment tool (CILIP, 2014). Through the adaptation of these two generic frameworks, the authors have created ALCM which is specific to those working in the academic library sector, and allows ECLs in particular to map their existing capabilities against the skills necessary for professional development.

To determine librarians’ expected competencies across Higher Education Worker (HEW) levels at MUL, a thematic data analysis of MUL position description documentation was undertaken, along with the authors’ documented work experiences. This analysis served as an exercise in benchmarking the expected capabilities and skills of MUL Librarians. In addition, it provided a means to identify any knowledge and/or skills gaps mapped against the WSD and PKSD, contributing to the final design of the model.

Based on this methodology, the research culminates in an interpretation and adaption of the WSD and the PKSB. The result is ALCM, a comprehensive self-assessment model for ECLs to map their existing skills against those required for career development. Through an ECL’s individual use of ALCM, they will be empowered to undertake reflective practice, assess their skills, and recognise their competencies and gaps. Through these benchmarking and gap-identification activities, an ECL’s implicit knowledge will be made explicit, empowering the ECL with a self-awareness of their necessary areas for skills improvement. Subsequently a professional development narrative which seeks to address these gaps can be developed.

ECLs are faced with a fast-paced, dynamic workplace, situated within a sector which is undergoing constant change. Flexibility and nimbleness is required in order to stay abreast of technological and pedagogical developments, and an awareness of skills gaps is essential. Through individually identifying and acknowledging skills gaps, ECLs will be able to form communities of practice with employees of various skill levels in order to not only enhance their own professional development, but also to create lasting connections with colleagues and perform more effectively as members of a larger library team.

Paper - Now available.

Presentation - Now available.


Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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