2021 Update to ALA's Core Competences of Librarianship

Since 2017, ALA's Committee on Education (COE) has been updating the 2009 Statement of ALA's Core Competences in response to multiple recommendations from Task Force on the Context of Future Accreditation and an action request from the ALA Executive Board. After multiple years of revision, COE is pleased to invite the library and information science (LIS) community to provide feedback on the 2021 draft.

View the most recent revision of the 2021 Draft ALA Core Competences (opens as a PDF, revised 6/3/2021)

Provide Feedback on the Draft 2021 ALA Core Competences

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About the Draft 2021 ALA Core Competences 

The ALA Core Competences (ALACCs) reflect basic knowledge gained through LIS education, job on-boarding, and ongoing professional development early in a library career. It is essential that library professionals working throughout their careers in school, academic, public, special, and governmental libraries be life-long learners to acquire specialized and advanced knowledge beyond those specified in this Core Competences document.

Throughout the ALACCs, there are words and phrases that we wish to clarify in this front-matter. We chose to use the phrase “library professionals” to be inclusive of anyone working in a position that requires an LIS degree in a library or information environment.  This phrasing reflects the fact that these competences are in many ways specific to libraries, but can also be reflective of the work done by archivists, data scientists, information specialists, library/archival technicians, and others.

This is the first iteration of the ALACCs which intentionally incorporates the concepts of social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion both throughout the competences and in a separate competence. Social justice in the library context includes the knowledge and skills necessary for library professionals to create and support library collections, services, personnel, facilities, and programs that foster equitable access to and participation of all people to use the library and its resources. Embedding social justice throughout the competences demonstrates that it is not a siloed activity, while having a separate social justice competence also recognizes that it contains unique attributes over and above the other competences.  We refer to ALA’s already developed definitions for equity, diversity and inclusion.

The ALACCs are specific to individual library professionals, whereas the ALA Accreditation Standards specifically address LIS schools and programs that confer masters degrees. Other standards that are related to the ALACCs and ALA Accreditation Standards include IFLA Guidelines,AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians, and other organizations’ knowledge and competency standards.