Library Competencies


ALA Statements

American Library AssociationCore Competences of Librarianship (2022)
The ALA Core Competences of Librarianship 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. 

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians (2010)
The 2010 standards consist of five standards, each with four elements. The five standards are Teaching for Learning, Literacy and Reading, Information and Knowledge, Advocacy and Leadership, and Program Management and Administration. Each standard is followed by a rubric for use by reviewers, a research piece to support that standard, and references.

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries
ALSC, a division of ALA, recommends the following Core 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 0-14.

Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)

  • Competencies for Special Collections Professionals
    This statement is intended to define our profession and to foster a sense of community and common identity among special collections professionals, while helping others to understand our work.  We hope that the statement will prove helpful to those planning a career in special collections, archives, and libraries, current members of the profession, educators developing library and information studies (LIS) curricula, and administrators writing or reviewing position descriptions and making hiring decisions.
  • Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators
    The "Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators" allows academic libraries to begin with a common definition for the scope of responsibilities for instruction librarians and coordinators of instruction programs. At a basic level, they can be used as standards to create professional development opportunities for librarians with teaching responsibilities in order to improve or expand their skills. They can also be used by administrators and coordinators of instructional services to define clearly responsibilities of these positions.

Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) - Developing Core Leadership Competencies for the Library Profession (PDF)
This article provides an overview of the library literature addressing competency models, describes the process used to develop the competency model for library leadership, reviews competency models found in the literature of other professions, and discusses the proposed core competency model for leadership in our profession. The article also mentions the work done by the 2008 Emerging Leaders class (PDF).

Map and Geospatial Information Round Table (MAGIRT)Map, GIS and Cataloging / Metadata Librarian Core Competencies
There is a growing demand for skilled professionals equipped with specialized knowledge of maps, geographic information systems (GIS) and all other cartographic resources, whether in hardcopy or digital form, and the cataloging of, or metadata creation for these same resources. These Core Competencies outline and articulate the special skills needed to provide high quality professional support to users of cartographic and geospatial materials.

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) - Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians
These competencies are focused on the abilities, skills, and knowledge that make reference and user services librarians unique from other professionals. The competencies assume a basic infrastructure of competencies required by all professionals, such as skills related to communication, reading, writing, and mathematics. Behavioral guidelines on approachability, interest, listening/inquiring, searching, and follow-up are incorporated throughout.

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) - Young Adults Deserve the Best: Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth
Individuals who demonstrate the knowledge and skills laid out in this document will be able to provide quality library service for and with teenagers. Institutions seeking to improve their overall service capacity and increase public value to their community are encouraged to adopt these competencies. The competencies can be used as a tool to evaluate and improve service, a foundation for library school curriculum, a framework for staff training and a set of guiding principles for use when speaking out for the importance of services to teens in libraries.

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Competency Statements from Other Organizations

American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) - AALL Competencies for Law Librarians and Legal Information Professionals

American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) - ASIST Educational Guidelines

Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) - ARLIS/NA Core Competencies for Art Information Professionals

Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) - Information Ethics in Library and Information Studies Education

Association of Vision Science Librarians (AVSL) - Vision Librarian Core Competencies

Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC) - Federal Librarian Competencies

Medical Library Association (MLA) - Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success: The Educational Policy Statement of the MLA

Music Library Association - Core Competencies and Music Librarians (pdf)

NASIG (formerly North American Serials Interest Group) - NASIG - Core Competencies for Electronic Resources Librarians 2013 (pdf) & NASIG - Core Competencies for Print Serials Management 2015 (pdf) 

Ohio Library Council - Ohio Public Library Core Competencies

Society of American Archivists - Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies

Special Libraries Association (SLA) - Competencies for Information Professionals

State Library of North Carolina - Technology Competencies for Libraries in North Carolina (pdf)

WebJunction (compiled by) - Competency Index for the Library Field

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Other Resources and Commentaries

Thompson, Susan M. Core Technology Competencies for Librarians and Library Staff: A LITA Guide. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2009.