Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Libraries

Created by the ALSC Education Committee, 1989. Revised by the ALSC Education Committee: 1999, 2009, 2015, 2020; approved by the 2020 ALSC Board of Directors.

Download a PDF Version of the 2020 Competencies Here - (a professionally-designed PDF available to ALSC members as a benefit of their membership)

View a recording of the 2015 competencies discussion at the Leadership and ALSC meeting during 2016 ALA Midwinter

Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Libraries

Librarians are vital to all children, caregivers, and the communities that support them. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), believes that all children and their caregivers need and deserve the very best opportunities, which is why ALSC members are leaders in the field of children's library service, particularly in areas of access, advocacy, outreach, inclusion, diversity, family literacy, and lifelong learning.

To achieve this excellence, ALSC recommends the following competencies to all children’s librarians and other library staff whose primary duties include delivering library service to and advocating library service for children ages 0 to 14 and their caregivers. ALSC strongly recommends a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from an ALA-accredited graduate school as the appropriate professional degree for the librarian serving children in the library, and, because children deserve the highest-quality service, ALSC expects the same standards to guide service provided by paraprofessional staff; these staff should be supported in their professional development required to provide this work and be compensated in parity.

Through specialized coursework in undergraduate and graduate study, on-the-job training, and continuing education opportunities, librarians and paraprofessionals serving children and their caregivers should achieve and maintain the following skills, orientations, and understandings to ensure children receive the highest quality of library service as defined in the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations, ALA's Code of Ethics, and in the ALA and Association of American Publishers’ joint Freedom to Read Statement. Library service to children and their caregivers, as envisioned by ALSC, is best accomplished when all competencies are developed and achieved by all staff.

© 2020 American Library Association